District Updates: March 2022

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Central District of California

Covid-19 Update:  On February 8, 2022, the Central District announced that it will resume jury trials on February 22, 2022. (Notice.) The District Court adopted an amended policy regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, effective February 3, 2022. (Policy.) On January 3, 2022, the Court extended its authority pursuant to provisions of the CARES Act through March 28, 2022. Accordingly, court hearings by video or telephonic conference may continue to be held in certain criminal matters. (Notice.)  

Judicial Nominations: On December 15, 2021, President Biden announced four district court nominees for the Central District of California. (Statement.)

  • Sherilyn Peace Garnett (to fill the position previously held by the late Manuel L. Real);
  • Kenla Kiya Kato (to fill the position previously held by the late Beverly Reid O’Connell);
  • Fred W. Slaughter (to fill the position previously held by the now-retired Andrew J. Guilford); and
  • Sunshine Suzanne Sykes (to fill the position previously held by James V. Selna, who has taken senior status).

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.)

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: After more than 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.

Ninth Circuit Civics Contest: An essay and video contest for high school students. This year’s contest—The First Amendment and the Schoolhouse Gate—asks contestants to consider what rights the First Amendment provides to students engaging in free speech, both inside and outside of school. 

Finalists in the Northern District of California’s local contest will each receive a $600 cash prize (shared between contestants for group video entries) and an opportunity to compete in the circuit-wide contest. To be eligible to compete in the Northern District of California’s local contest, students must reside in one of these counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, or Sonoma. Entries will be accepted until March 18, 2022. For more contest information and rules, please review the Ninth Circuit Civics Contest Website. Questions about the district-level contest may be directed to

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. (GO-631.) Face coverings must be worn in public spaces. (GO-621.) The Court issued a General Order regarding vaccination and testing requirements. (GO-637.) When appearing for any in-person proceedings before any Magistrate Judge in the area served by the Sacramento federal courthouse, all individuals must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless otherwise ordered by the judge presiding over the proceeding. (GO-638.)  Criminal and civil jury trials are being held in person. Judges shall determine whether to hold other proceedings in person. Civil proceedings are primarily being held by telephone or videoconference. 

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