UPDATE ON JUDICIAL EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
(Posted March 18, 2020) Here’s the current state of affairs for the courts’ responses to the judicial emergency.
The court has postponed arguments for this week and April 7; those will be calendared for argument at a later date. The court has issued this public advisory describing limited access to the building. You can still file documents, but you’ll do so either electronically only – the obligation to file a paper copy is suspended for now – or in the building’s lobby. If you’re in one of several enumerated high-risk categories, you can’t enter the building at all.
Supreme Court of Virginia
The SCV is, as far as I can tell, the lone court in Virginia that has yet to announce any policy changes, any restrictions, any modified procedures for its operations. The clerk’s office is open for official filings but the building is closed to the general public. The next scheduled convening of court is in 13 days, when three writ panels will consider sixty or so petitions for appeal. I expect an announcement of some kind before then, but I don’t know just when. UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: The court has notified attorneys scheduled to argue to writ panels on March 31 that they have a choice: argument by telephone, or waiving argument. The court has given each such advocate until March 24 to notify the Chief Staff Attorney. I’m relieved to see this news; the court emphatically is doing the right thing.
Court of Appeals of Virginia
The CAV issued an order today that details several changes, including a drop box for court filings, a liberal continuance policy, and the conversion of all oral arguments to teleconference through the end of June. As I type this on the afternoon of March 18, I don’t see a link to the order on the court’s website, but I expect to see that shortly. In the meantime, if you’d like a copy, contact me and I’ll forward it.
As I noted on Monday, Virginia state trial courts are now operating under the Supreme Court’s judicial-emergency declaration.
You need to be aware of these trial-court procedures if you have to file something, such as a notice of appeal, in the lower court’s clerk’s office.