Most Fed. Court business in S.D. delayed
Concerns about coronavirus lead to new standing orders
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Coronavirus concerns are shutting down almost all federal court business in South Dakota.
The orders were announced in a special edition attorney newsletter released on Wednesday, March 18.
Chief Judge Roberto Lange of the U.S. District Court District of South Dakota has issued two standing orders affecting all federal courthouses in the state: one delaying all grand juries and criminal and civil jury trials until at least April 24th; the other limiting access to all federal courthouses.
Non-jury proceedings such as hearings and bench trials will proceed as scheduled, unless delayed by the presiding judge on a case-by-case basis.
According to the newsletter, “The order excludes the periods of delay occasioned by the order, finding that the ends of justice served by continuing all criminal jury trials outweighs the best interests of the public and any defendant’s right to a speedy trial due to the Court’s inability to safely call and retain an adequate cross-section of jurors and the impact of public health recommendations on the availability of others who would need to be present if a jury trial were held.”
All deadlines established in civil cases remain in place. However, the newsletter adds, the court will be “receptive to motions to enlarge deadlines in civil cases due to disruption caused by social distancing requirements and travel restrictions.”
The second order bars anyone who falls into the following categories from entering any federal courthouse:
- Persons who have traveled to China, South Korea, Italy, or Iran within the last 14 days;
- Persons who reside or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to one of the countries listed above within the last 14 days;
- Persons who have been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor or other medical provider, hospital, or health agencies if they remain within the time of self-quarantine;
- Persons who have been diagnosed with, or have had contact with, anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 unless and until they have completed a quarantine period; and
- Persons with fever, cough or shortness of breath.