How Every State's Legal System Is Responding to COVID-19

Use our 50-state tracker to check out how your state's legal system is responding to COVID-19.

Updated November 20, 2020

Access to justice isn't just a concept—it's a constitutional right. People depend on the legal system for custody rights, business disputes, violence protection orders, tenants' rights, and much more.

Initially, COVID-19 emergency orders shuttered many courthouse doors, forcing the legal system to quickly adjust operations. Most courts suspended jury trials and many began conducting other judicial hearings remotely. But the legal system remained up and running.

Many courts implemented phased-in reopening plans over the summer, placing court operation decisions primarily at the local level. Courts continued to conduct hearing remotely but expanded the availability of in-person hearings and resumed some jury trials. But states and local communities continue to adjust their COVID-19 orders. With COVID-19 infection rates spiking again, some courts have revised their operating plans or suspended phased-in return plans. Continue to check on your court's status as temporary closings are also occurring more frequently.

50-State Tracker: COVID-19 Legal System Responses

Check out your state's response in the chart below. The chart provides links to each state's government and judicial COVID-19 response pages, as well as general information on the resumption of in-court hearings and jury trials (note that criminal cases generally resume sooner than civil cases). We continue to update the chart, and you'll find the date of the most recent update below. But information changes rapidly, and you should check your state's website for the most current information. You'll likely need to find links for your city, county, or local courthouse to learn information specific to your area.

For more information on specific legal issues relating to COVID-19, check out our center for coronavirus coverage.

State State Court Website Jury Trials In-Person Proceedings
Alabama AL Court Website Resumed 9/15/20. Check individual court for more information. Subject to discretion of presiding judge. Check individual court for more information.
Alaska AK Court Website Misdemeanor trials resumed 11/2/20. Felony/civil resume after 1/4/21. Limited critical trials proceeding via video conference. Non-jury proceedings are subject to presiding judge's discretion. In-person proceedings are subject to strict safety requirements. Check with local court.
Arizona AZ Court Website Resumed 6/15/20 as part of Phase I at discretion of presiding judge. Procedural rules have been modified through 12/31/20. Check with local court. Courts transitioning back to in-person pursuant to the first phase of a four-phased plan. Limited in-person proceedings. Activities are subject to very location-specific safety considerations. Check with local court.
Arkansas AR Court Website Jury trials resumed 7/1/20. Civil trials can be conducted in whole/part remotely; criminal trials remain in person. Individual courts/presiding judges can delay resumption based on public health considerations. Check with local court. Proceeding pursuant to health guidelines and at presiding judge's discretion.
California CA Court Website Most courts have resumed jury trials, but status is very court-specific. Individual court status is available online. Transitioning to normal operations. See Pandemic Continuity of Operations Resource Guide and check individual court for more information.
Colorado CO Court Website Resuming in courts where chief judges determine health guidelines can be met. Check individual court for more information. Procedures/limitations are court-specific. Check individual court for more information.
Connecticut CT Court Website Remain suspended until further notice, but pretrial hearings have resumed and officials are creating strategies to resume. Many proceedings have been moved online since resuming on 5/18/20. Facilities are expanding operations and reopening to the public. Check individual court for more information.
Delaware DE Court Website Resumed 10/5/20 pursuant to modified Phase 3. See Court Website. 5-phased reopening plan initiated 6/8/20. Currently in "Modified Phase 3". The judicial emergency is extended through 12/4/20. See Court Website.
District of Columbia DC Court Website Suspended until further notice. Primarily essential and emergency matters via remote, but moving towards broader capacity. Check individual court for more information.
Florida FL Court Website Jury proceedings have/can resume(d) 30 days after a circuit/county transitions to Phase II of four-phased plan. Multiple courts are conducting civil juries via videoconferencing. Check local court. Courts are implementing individual operating plans based on four-phased reopening guidelines. Some courts remain in Phase 1, allowing "essential and critical trial court proceedings" and designated matters only. Most courts are in Phase II, with expanded in person proceedings. Check with local court.
Georgia GA Court Website Individual courts authorized to resume when they achieve safety benchmarks. Check local court. A statewide judicial emergency has been extended until 12/9/20. Courts have greatly expanded remote proceedings and have resumed limited in-person hearings. Check individual court for more information.
Hawaii HI Court Website Grand Jury proceeds have resumed. Trial suspension was extended a third time, until 12/11/20 for 1st Circuit and 11/16/20 for the remaining circuits. Check local court. In-person proceedings resuming with social distancing mandates. Many matters still handled remotely; In September, October and November multiple court employees tested positive-which delayed reopenings. 1st Circuit is the most heavily restricted. Check individual court for more information.
Idaho ID Court Website Criminal trials resumed 9/14/20 subject to county-wide infection rate formula; civil trials remain suspended until 12/1/20. Enumerated critical matters only, all others to be held electronically.
Illinois IL Court Website Each circuit may suspend trials, including in-custody trials, until further order by the Supreme Court. Check circuits for details. Varies by circuit, but courts have significant latitude to restrict hearings. Check individual court for more information.
Indiana IN Court Website Resumed 7/1/20 pursuant to individual transition plans. Trial courts operating under individual transition plans. Check IN Court Website and individual court for more information.
Iowa IA Court Website Closing back down. Trials not started by 11/16/20 or scheduled to begin before 2/1/21 are continued to after 2/1/21. Cases are being prioritized starting with emergency hearings. In -person non-emergency hearings and nonjury trials proceeding in specific counties provided safety protocols are met. Check individual court for more information.
Kansas KS Court Website

Only when necessary to protect defendant's constitutional speedy trial rights and pursuant to pre-approved plan. Check local court for details.

Essential functions have priority, with additional matters being added pursuant to regional re-opening plans. Courts may conduct in-person hearings with appropriate social distancing requirements. Remote hearings encouraged to extent possible. Deadlines suspended through 12/15/20. Check individual court for more information.
Kentucky KY Court Website All trials resumed 10/2/20 at presiding judge's discretion.

Chief district and circuit judges are implementing local reopening protocols.

Check individual court for more information.

Louisiana LA Court Website Resumed. Courts conducting in-person proceedings on all matters.
Maine ME Court Website Resumed on 11/9/20 pursuant to Phase 5 for all case types, but criminal trials prioritized. Courts are in Phase 5 of a five-phased management plan, which was last revised on 11/3/20. Check ME Court Website.
Maryland MD Court Website Resumed 10/5/20 pursuant to Phase 5, but temporarily suspended again with the move back to Phase 3. As of 11/16/20 courts are ratcheting back from Phase 5 to Phase 3 of a five-phased management plan. Check individual court for more information.
Massachusetts MA Court Website Phase 1 of a 4-phase "gradual resumption" of jury trials is tentatively scheduled to begin 11/30/20. Phase two is tentatively scheduled for February 2021.

Expanding in-person proceedings in four phases. In-person hearings for enumerated matters that cannot be handled virtually, with criminal matters given priority. Local plans in effect. Check individual court for more information.

Michigan MI Court Website Resume when a court reaches Phase Three. Check individual court for more information. Individual courts implementing a four-phase "Return to Full Capacity Guide" dependent on meeting health benchmarks. On 11/16/20 "reverse-gating criteria" were added to address the Covid "surge". Check individual court for more information.
Minnesota MN Court Website Trials already underway will continue, but no new trials will begin until 2/1/21. Check local court for more information. "Transitional case strategies" under the judicial "Preparedness Plan" were being implemented. However, as of 11/20/20 courts are dramatically restricting access in response to the November Covid "surge". Check individual court for more information.
Mississippi MS Court Website Counties with two or fewer COVID-19 deaths resumed trials 5/18/20. Judges are utilizing public arenas and auditoriums for jury selection and related activities. Check individual court for more information. Individual judges granted discretion to control their general dockets, as well as safe practices. In-person hearings must be limited to attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers, the press, and other necessary persons. Check individual court for more information.
Missouri MO Court Website

Phased benchmarks (0-3) statewide operational directives must be met at individual courts.

Check with local court.

Phase 0: suspended with only emergency exceptions

Phase 1: only jury trials that are extraordinary, pressing, and urgent

Phase 2: increased but still strictly limited

Phase 3: resume jury trials with social distancing

Phased benchmarks (0-3) statewide operational directives must be met at individual courts.

Check with local court.

Phase 0: suspended, only emergency in-person hearings allowed

Phase 1: suspended, only critical proceedings allowed

Phase 2: increased in-person hearings

Phase 3: resume in-person hearings with social distancing

Montana MT Court Website

Jury trials resumed.

Plans to conduct "necessary jury trials" are decided at the local level and must meet health and social distancing requirements.

Check local courts.

In-person hearings resumed.

Check local courts for health and social distancing requirements.

Nebraska NE Court Website

Jury trials resumed.

Must follow Supreme Court's statewide order implementing health measures and social distancing guidelines.

Scroll down on this page to find local court orders.

In-person hearings resumed.

Must follow Supreme Court's statewide order implementing health measures and social distancing guidelines.

Scroll down on this page to find local court orders.

Nevada NV Court Website

Resumed jury trials.

Check local courts.

Essential matters only, but check local courts. Nonessential matters to be conducted remotely or continued.

Check local courts.

New Hampshire NH Court Website Resumed jury trials. Check local courts.

Suspended through 11/30 with exceptions for essential case types. Preference for remote hearings.

Check local courts.

New Jersey NJ Court Website In-person jury trials suspended starting 11/16/20.

November 2020: Continuing preference for remote hearings. Check local court.

June 2020: State courts entered phase 2.5 (of 4): expanded gradual and limited return to in-person hearings for certain matters that cannot be conducted remotely.

New Mexico NM Court Website Jury trials paused through the end of 2020.

Judges continuing to conduct hearings remotely unless an emergency exists.

Check local court.

New York NY Court Website

New jury trials suspended starting 11/16/20.

Phased-in return. Both criminal and civil trials have resumed in the state. Check with local and district court.

Phased-in return to in-person appearances by district. Check with local and district court.
North Carolina NC Court Website

Jury trials may resume in judicial districts with approved jury resumption plans.

Check local courts, including temporary court closings.

Limited matters only. All other matters conducted remotely.

Check local courts, including temporary court closings.

North Dakota ND Court Website

Jury trials resumed.

Check local courts.

At presiding judge's discretion. Electronic appearances or continuances are encouraged.

Check local courts.

Ohio OH Court Website

Check local court orders.

When essential, conducted in accordance with the best legal and medical practices, and honoring "... the fundamental rights of the parties."

Check local court orders.

Courts are empowered and encouraged to hold electronic hearings where appropriate.

Oklahoma OK Court Website

Jury trials resumed.

Check county notices.

In-person hearings resumed.

Check county notices.

Oregon OR Court Website

Statewide judicial “freeze” order on all in-person matters until 12/2. Exceptions decided on a case-by-case basis.

Check local court orders.

Statewide judicial “freeze” order on all in-person matters until 12/2. Exceptions decided on a case-by-case basis.

Check local court orders.

Pennsylvania PA Court Website

Statewide judicial emergency ended. Jury trials resumed, but courts following restrictions.

Check local courts.

Statewide judicial emergency ended. In-person hearings resumed, but courts following restrictions.

Check local courts.

Rhode Island RI Court Website

Jury trials may resume on a limited basis in line with state protocols.

Court links found here.

Only matters that cannot be handled remotely may be conducted in-person.

Criminal calendar protocols through 12/30/20.

Court links found here.

South Carolina SC Court Website

Counties with approved jury trial plans may resume jury trials.

Check court status, including closures.

In-person hearings resumed in October. Remote hearings still allowed.

Check court status, including closures.

South Dakota SD Court Website

Jury trials resumed.

Check local court orders.

In-person hearings resumed. Restrictions on remote hearings suspended.

Check local court orders.

Tennessee TN Court Website

Jury trials suspended from 11/23/20 to 1/31/2021 (exceptions must be approved by Chief Justice).

Scroll down on this page to see local court plans.

Remote appearances preferred. Local plans to expand the use of in-person proceedings must be approved by the Chief Justice.

Scroll down on this page to see local court plans.

Texas TX Court Website

District courts must have authorization from the Office of Court Administration to conduct jury trials.

Approved trials listed here.

Jury trials are not permitted in justice and municipal courts until after 2/1/21.

Preference for remote hearings. In-person proceedings allowed in accordance with guidance issued by the Office of Court Administration.

Check local courts. Find an interactive map by county here.

Utah UT Court Website

Check individual court status. (Many courts moved back to red phase.)

Adopted a three-phase system for counties.

Red phase: no jury trials

Yellow phase: limited trials

Green phase: new normal court operations

Check individual court status. (Many courts moved back to red phase.)

Adopted a three-phase system for counties.

Red phase: only emergency in-person hearings

Yellow phase: in-person allowed (but not encouraged) if social distancing can be maintained

Green phase: new normal court operations

Vermont VT Court Website

Jury trials in criminal cases no longer suspended but resumption to occur gradually based on individual court preparations. Civil jury trials suspended until 1/1/21.

Check local court status, including closings.

Courts hearing non-emergency matters. Preference remains for remote hearings.

Check local court status, including closings.

Virginia VA Court Website

Judicial emergency extended to 12/13.

No jury trials may start without approval from judicial panel.

Link to approved jury trial resumption plans can be found on this page.

Check local courts, including court closings.

Judges may conduct in-person hearings if safe to do so. Preference for conducting hearings remotely.

Check local courts, including court closings (link can be found on this page).

Washington WA Court Website

Resumed jury trials. Remote technology encouraged for jury selection.

Check local court status.

In-person allowed with strict observance of health measures. Courts encouraged to hear more cases remotely.

Check local court status.

West Virginia WV Court Website

Resumed subject to individual court safety considerations. No large-scale jury trials allowed.

Check with local court, including court closures.

In-person hearings resumed. Remote hearings still permitted and encouraged. Judicial officers encourage to collaborate with local health officials.

Check with local court, including court closures.

Wisconsin WI Court Website

Jury trials may resume in courts with approved operational plans.

Check local court orders, revised orders, and closures.

In-person hearings may resume upon approval of court's operational plan.

Check local court orders, revised orders, and closures.

Wyoming WY Court Website

Jury trials resumed. May be conducted only if operating plan adopted by the court.

Check local court status at the bottom of this page.

Most in-person hearings should be suspended, with exceptions for critical hearings. Remote appearances encouraged.

Check local court status at the bottom of this page.

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