District Updates: April 2022

Central District of California

Covid-19 Update:  On March 15, 2022, the Court extended its authority pursuant to provisions of the CARES Act through May 28, 2022. Accordingly, court hearings by video or telephonic conference may continue to be held in certain criminal matters. (Notice.)  

Merit Selection Committee: The United States District Court, Central District of California, is currently accepting applications from attorneys interested in serving on the Central District’s Merit Selection Panel, which (1) evaluates and recommends to the District Judges the best qualified applicants for appointment to the position of United States Magistrate Judge; and (2) evaluates and recommends to the District Judges whether an incumbent Magistrate Judge whose term is expiring should be reappointed to a new term of office.  (Notice.)

New District Judge and Chief Probation and Pretrial Services Officer: 

On March 17, 2022, the United States Senate confirmed President Biden’s nomination of Orange County Superior Court Judge Fred W. Slaughter to serve as United States District Judge for the Central District of California.  Judge Slaughter will preside over matters in Santa Ana in the Court’s Southern Division.  (Announcement.)

On March 7, 2022, the Court announced the appointment of Natasha Alexander-Mingo as Chief United States Probation and Pretrial Services Officer, effective February 28, 2022.  (Announcement.)

Southern District of California

Covid-19 Update:  The Southern District of California is continuing normal operations.  However, most proceedings can typically proceed by telephone or videoconference.  (CJO 63-H and CJO 62-B.)  Face coverings are required in indoor public settings for persons who are not fully vaccinated.  (CJO 59-C.)

Changes to Local Rules: Local Rules 16.1.c (concerning Early Neutral Evaluations) and 16.3 (concerning Case Management Conferences) have been amended to allow judges to continue holding Early Neutral Evaluations and Case Management Conferences via video conference on a permanent basis after  Covid emergency orders expire.  (GO-738)

Northern District of California

Covid-19 Update:  All visitors to a Northern District courthouse must review the Court’s COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaire before arriving at the courthouse and, effective July 29, 2021, all jurors, attorneys, court staff, and other courthouse visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks within public or common areas of courthouse property.  Additionally, the Northern District is holding “hybrid” in-court criminal proceedings incorporating Zoom, regarding which additional information is available on the Court’s website.

Judicial Changes:  On March 17, 2022, the United States Senate voted to confirm President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s, nomination of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  Learn more about Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley’s path to the federal bench here.

After over 21 years of service on the bench, including 10 years as a Magistrate Judge and 11 years as an Active District Judge, United States District Judge Edward M. Chen will take senior status effective May 17, 2022. Judge Chen will continue to support the Northern District of California and will carry a caseload as a Senior District Judge, will remain active in court governance and judicial administration, and will continue his work on various court committees.

Criminal Justice Act Panel:  The CJA Panel application period for the Northern District of California is now open and will close on Monday, April 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.  The CJA Panel is a group of qualified and court-approved attorneys who are eligible for appointment by the Court to represent individuals in criminal cases who are unable for financial reasons to retain counsel.  Instructions on how to apply to the panels, and the application packets, are available on the Office of the Federal Public Defender website.

Eastern District of California

Covid-19 Update: Federal courthouses in the Eastern District of California remain open to the public, and jury trials are being held in-person.  (GO-631.)  Judges shall determine whether to hold other proceedings in person.  Criminal duty calendars are resuming in-person on April 4, 2022.  Civil proceedings are primarily being held by telephone or videoconference.  Face coverings are no longer required in the public spaces of the Sacramento or Fresno federal courthouses, but may change based on the CDC COVID-19 Community Level.  (GO-648.)  The Court will “require that face coverings be properly worn during all court proceedings (including in-person hearings, all phases of jury trials, and grand jury proceedings) regardless of whether Sacramento or Fresno County is categorized by the CDC as “Low,” “Medium,” or “High” risk, unless the presiding judge in a proceeding orders otherwise.”  (Id.)  The prior vaccination requirement for in-person proceedings before any Magistrate Judge in the area served by the Sacramento federal courthouse has been rescinded effective April 4, 2022.  (GO-647.). The stay of Social Security cases has been lifted effective April 1, 2022.  (GO-644)

Changes to Local Rules: The court’s Local Rules (available here) have been amended and are effective March 1, 2022.  (GO-645.). The following rules have been affected:

  • L.R. 101, Definitions;
  • L.R. 135, Service of Documents During Action;
  • L.R. 173, Photographing, Recording or Broadcasting of Judicial Proceedings;
  • L.R. 174, Appearance by Video Teleconferencing or Telephone – Civil Matters;
  • L.R. 230, Civil Motion Calendar and Procedure;
  • L.R. 233, Motions for Administrative Relief;
  • L.R. 251, Motions Dealing with Discovery Matters;
  • L.R. 261, Procedures in Actions for Review on an Administrative Record in Non-Social Security Cases;
  • L.R. 428, Virtual Testimony;
  • L.R. 429, Bail Review Procedures;
  • L.R. 430.1, Criminal Motions and Procedures;
  • L.R. 460, Disclosure of Presentence Reports, Pretrial Services Reports and Related Records;
  • L.R. 461, Sentencing Procedures; and Appendix A, Automated Case Assignment Plan.

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