When the Courthouse Doors Are Closed: Trials in a State of Emergency
Hon. Craig G. Riemer
Craig G. Riemer is a Judge of the Superior Court of California for the County of Riverside. He is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside (B.A. 1977) and the University of California, Los Angeles (J.D. 1980). After practicing business and real property litigation for ten years, he joined the staff of the Court of Appeal (4th District, Division 2) as a research attorney. In 2003, he was appointed to the trial court bench. He has presided over vertical civil trial departments for most of his 18 years on the bench, including over four years in a complex civil department.
Since March of 2020, the doors into many of the nation’s courthouses have been closed in response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. But except for the first few months, the civil justice system has continued to operate behind those closed doors. Case management proceedings, hearings on motions, and trials have continued to take place. Although counsel, litigants, witnesses, and jurors could not come into the courtroom in person, they could appear remotely, through videoconferencing software such as Zoom, Webex, and Bluejeans.