California Lawyers Association

Committee on Federal Courts

May 2021 Central District of California Covid-19 Update: The court has entered Phase 3 of its Plan for Phased Resumption of Operations (“Reopening Plan”), permitting jury trials to resume. Effective April 19, 2021, all courthouses in the Central District will remain open to persons with court business and subject to all posted restrictions. In -court hearings will be permitted in all matters at the discretion of the assigned judge. Some hearings may continue to be held by video or telephonic… Read more
On March 25, the Federal Courts Committee of the California Lawyers Association and the Federal Bar Association’s Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire, and Northern District of California chapters hosted a webinar about Covid-19’s impact on federal court operations.  The webinar featured four distinguished panelists representing all four federal districts in the state: U.S. District Court Judges Anthony J. Battaglia (S.D. Cal.), Philip S. Gutierrez (C.D. Cal.), John A. Mendez (E.D. Cal.), and William H.… Read more
1.         What are the key functions of a federal magistrate judge? Magistrate judges in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California are authorized to perform the full range of duties provided for magistrate judges under Title 28 U.S.C § 636. The court encourages civil litigants to consent to the jurisdiction of magistrate judges for all purposes up to and including bench or jury trial and final judgment, with any appeal directly to the Ninth Circuit Court… Read more
California’s winter lockdown is easing, and California’s federal courts are again reopening.  Practitioners and judges wondering about the future can look to the Southern District of California for guidance on potential next steps.  The Southern District designed a Covid-19 safety protocol that allowed the District to safely hold many in-person jury trials during a three-month period in 2020 and to again resume safe in-person jury trials on March 8, 2021. We sat down with Judge Anthony J. Battaglia—who led the… Read more
April 2021 Central District of California Covid Updates Covid-19 Update: Effective March 22, 2021, all Courthouses of the Central District of California are open to persons with court business and subject to all posted restrictions. Hearings in emergency civil matters and criminal matters may proceed in court at the discretion of the assigned judge. Hearings in other matters will continue to proceed by video and telephonic conference.  There are still no civil or criminal jury trials, but the Court has… Read more
Central District of California Covid Updates Jury trials are suspended and all courthouses are closed to the public except for hearings on certain criminal duty matters. Other hearings in criminal matters may proceed in court when the defendant does not consent to appear by video or telephone. Appearances in civil cases will proceed by telephone or videoconference.  Individual judges, at their discretion, may offer bench trials in civil cases by video conference in lieu of postponement. Court News On December… Read more
Mr. Ortega, a long-time deputy federal public defender who was appointed Federal Public Defender by the Ninth Circuit in October, 2020, addresses the serious impact of COVID-19 on federal criminal defendants, and his vision and goals for the Federal Public Defender’s Office. Read more
In this interview, Mr. Hanna, who recently returned to private practice at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher in Los Angeles, discusses his (now former) Office’s accomplishments during his tenure, as well as challenges facing the Central District. Read more
Judge Barch-Kuchta is the newest Magistrate Judge to join the Eastern District in November 2020. Read more

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