Supreme Court Issues 38th Emergency Order, Updates Best Practices

Yesterday the Office of Court Administration sent out COVID UPDATE #25 with links to the new 38th Emergency Order as well as the new best practice recommendations for health considerations. If you are a municipal court professional and not on the email list, I have pasted the message below in its entirety.

Judges, Clerks, and Court Staff:

Supreme Court Issues Updated Emergency Order

Today the Supreme Court issued the 38th Emergency Order, extending the 36th Emergency Order as amended. The key changes are:

Courts are permitted to modify or suspend any and all deadlines and procedures for a period no later than August 1 (was previously June 1);

In CPS termination proceedings, all deadlines and procedures are permitted to be modified or suspended until August 1, except that the dismissal date may be extended until December 1, February 1, or April 1, depending on certain circumstances.

As stated last week, courts may continue to take any reasonable action to avoid exposing court proceedings and participants to the threat of COVID-19. As stated in Attorney General Opinion KP-0322, “judges possess broad inherent authority to control orderly proceedings in their courtrooms, and pursuant to that authority, they can require individuals in the courtroom to wear facial coverings” and “may require any person entering the courthouse in which they preside to wear a facial covering while in the courthouse.” Previously-issued executive orders do not alter the Supreme Court’s current emergency order, the ability of a judge to control his or her courtroom, or judiciary-imposed requirements for those entering a court building who will be attending a court proceeding.

OCA Updates Best Practice Recommendations for Health Considerations

OCA has updated the best practice recommendations for health considerations to be consistent with CDC and DSHS guidance.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to coronavirus@txcourts.gov.

David Slayton

Administrative Director

Office of Court Administration

TMCEC will continue to update our materials and presentations with the latest information regarding emergency orders and virtual proceedings.

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