California Judicial Council Adopts Emergency COVID-19 Rules

California's judicial branch adopts sweeping emergency court rules that suspend jury trials, extend hearing deadlines, allow remote appearances by criminal defendants, and implement a statewide emergency bail schedule.

Update: As of June 20, the Council rescinded the emergency bail schedule and the deadline extensions for arraignments.

On April 6, 2020, the Judicial Council of California adopted temporary—but sweeping—emergency rules to suspend court hearings, extend deadlines, and utilize available technology to conduct judicial proceedings.

Changes that will affect criminal proceedings include:

  • Adopts a statewide emergency bail schedule setting bail at $0 for most misdemeanors and low-level felony offenses.
  • Allows courts to require that criminal proceedings be conducted remotely, with a defendant's consent.
  • Directs courts to allow defendants to appear through their attorneys or remotely for pretrial hearings.
  • Identifies juvenile delinquency proceedings to be prioritized.
  • Extends timeframes automatically for certain temporary restraining or protective orders.

These emergency rules are in addition to emergency orders already in place suspending jury trials, delaying deadlines for speedy trials, and extending deadlines for pretrial hearings. Continue to check the court’s website for new, amended, and rescinded emergency orders.

Updated: June 24, 2020