The email below was sent to all Felony ASA’s today titled “Afternoon Dockets and Depositions.”

We’re also working on a public records request regarding jail conditions and access to courts in June, and trying to figure out why Barbara McCarthy doesn’t seem to be listed on the Zoom hearing docket schedule, so please stay tuned.

SAO email:

As you all know by now, judge’s will be handling their own dockets daily in the mornings. Out of custody changes of pleas will be scheduled on these morning dockets. Attached hereto you will find the protocol for setting out of custody change of plea hearings. In addition to these protocols, all SAO requirements regarding changes of plea, i.e. supervisor consultation and approval of any offer that involves a charge reduction, change of charge or below guidelines offer must be obtained and documented.

I expect that most, if not all, bond motions will be scheduled on the morning dockets as well. Al matters will be handled via zoom by the assigned attorney whether it’s a division attorney or a special unit case.

Afternoon emergency bond dockets will be suspended after Monday May 18, 2020. The afternoon time slots – 1:30 to 6:00 p.m., will instead be used for the 16 circuit criminal divisions to hold evidentiary hearings such as Arthur Hearings and VOSC hearings on in custody defendants. There are 16 divisions so each FTU division will hold these types of hearings once every 16 working days. The protocol for these hearings is attached hereto as well. Emergency bond hearings not set before the assigned judge will continue to be calendared on these afternoon dockets regardless of who the assigned judge is.

Matters to be set on these afternoon dockets will be notices in the normal course and we will received dockets listing all cases to be heard the day before. These dockets will be forwarded to the assigned division attorneys and the docket clerk’s who will send out reminders to any attorney with a case on the docket. All attorneys are to appear via zoom and handle their own cases. To be clear, FTU division attorneys will be handling their own cases but all special unit cases or any case assigned to an attorney not in the particular FTU division must appear via zoom and handle their own cases.

We will be sending out the zoom invitation to any attorney with a case listed on the docket but in case we miss one, it is the attorney’s obligation to reach out to me or one of the FTU division attorneys to obtain the zoom link so they can appear.

Depositions will be resuming as well. An AO setting forth the process for taking depositions had been issued just prior to the courthouse closure that stated digital court reports could be used for less serious cases and stenographers have to be used for serious cases. I am attaching a copy of that AO hereto. Depositions will, until further notice, be conducted via video conferencing but the requirement that either a digital court reporter or a stenographer, depending on the type of case involved, participate via video conferencing remains in place.

Division FB has developed a deposition protocol that we anticipate will be followed by all judges. That deposition protocol is also attached hereto for your review.

We recognize that not all civilians will have internet access or access to the required video conferencing app. We also recognize some civilian witnesses ma not be comfortable appearing via video conferencing. We have drafted an internal protocol regarding the deposition process that I am also attaching hereto for your review. This protocol is a work in process and may be amended as necessary.

It has also come to our attention that law enforcement witnesses cannot use any official devices that also have access to confidential criminal justice information. As a result, LEA are working on obtaining terminals or tablets that will not be connected to their servers. Accessibility to these devices will be limited so scheduling and adhering to schedule will be very important. A protocol for setting LEO depositions is being developed and I will share it with you as soon as it is available. I can tell you that we will have to go through the agencies liaisons to schedule LEO depositions.

These processes are all works in progress and may have to be changed or adjusted as we move forward. Please feel free to share comments or suggestions about any aspect of any of these matters.