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Rule 4-410.? Courthouse closure.


Toestablish protocols surrounding the closure of a court?s physical building inthe event that extreme weather or other emergency situationprevents the safe arrival to, or the ability to safely conduct business in, thecourthouse.


This ruleapplies to courts of record and not of record.

Statementof the Rule:

(1)      Definitions.

(1)(A)   Incourts of record:

(1)(A)(i)       ?Presidingjudge? refers to the judge who presides over the district or court level.

(1)(A)(ii)      ?Courtexecutive? refers to the trial court executive in the district and juvenilecourts and the Appellate Court Administrator in the appellate courts.

(1)(B)    Incourts not of record:

(1)(B)(i)       ?Presidingjudge? refers to the local justice court presiding judge, not the districtlevel presiding judge.

(1)(B)(ii)      ?Courtexecutive? refers to the local justice court administrator.

(2)      In the event the presiding judge determines thata courthouse is not safe or is not capable of supporting the core mission ofthe court due to extreme weather conditions or other emergency situation, thepresiding judge has the discretion to determine, in consultation with the courtexecutive, court security, and authority responsible for the building?s operationand maintenance, how to continue supporting the core mission of the court.?

(3)      The presiding judge(s) may order:

(3)(A)   thetime-limited partial closure of the courthouse;

(3)(B)   thetime-limited complete closure of the courthouse; or

(3)(C)   the indefinite complete closure of the courthouse.??

(4)      If the presiding judge orders a complete orpartial building closure that in any way affects the public?s ability toconduct court business in that location,

(4)(A)   thepresiding judge may order that operations resume in an alternate location; and

(4)(B)    thepresiding judge shall ensure that notice is posted in at least two conspicuousplaces informing the public of:

(4)(B)(i)       thebuilding?s physical closure;

(4)(B)(ii)      theanticipated length of time the building will be closed; and

(4)(B)(iii)     the procedures for conducting court business, includingwhere cases will be heard and how to file court documents.

(5)      Communication of decision to close thecourthouse.

(5)(A)    Incourts of record, the presiding judge shall as soon as possible inform theState Court Administrator, the Chief Justice, the Court CommunicationsDirector, the Court Security Director, the Court Facilities Director, theSheriff whose jurisdiction covers the affected courthouse, and the otherorganizations or lessees occupying the building of the presiding judge?sdecision to close the courthouse.

(5)(B)    Incourts not of record, the presiding judge shall as soon as possible inform thecourt executive, the Justice Court Administrator, the Court CommunicationsDirector, the Court Security Director, the law enforcement agency whosejurisdiction covers the affected courthouse, and the other building occupantsof the presiding judge?s decision to close the courthouse.

(6)      The Court Communications Director shallimmediately inform the media and public of the closure.

(7)      If the presiding judge determines that there isa need to extend a court closure order, the presiding judge shall so order andthe steps of paragraphs (1) through (4) shall repeat.

(8)      For all courthouses that house more than onelevel of court, the presiding judges of each court level shall confer and cometo a consensus decision regarding action pursuant to subsection (3) above.

(8)(A)   Inthe event that a closure is ordered by consensus, the presiding judges of theclosed courthouse shall all sign the closure order.

(8)(B)   Inthe event there is not consensus among the presiding judges, the Chief Justiceshall determine whether to issue and sign the closure order.

(9)       Eachpresiding judge and the Administrative Office of the Courts shall retain a copyof the order.

Effective: January 27, 2020