Courts are Slowly Reopening in Phase Two

NEW YORK – Courts in the Third Judicial District including the counties of Columbia, Greene, Sullivan and Ulster, and the Ninth Judicial District including the counties of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester, are entering phase two of a gradual return to in-person operations.

Over the past two weeks, judges, chambers staff and support staff in the two districts that have all met the governor’s safety benchmarks have ben returning to their courthouses.
The goal of phase two is to safely increase courthouse foot traffic in a gradual manner, so that the court can select matters that require an in-person appearance while continuing to maximize virtual appearances.

Essential family matters will be conducted in person and heard by the assigned judge.
Criminal, juvenile delinquency and mental hygiene law proceedings pertaining to a hospitalized adult will be held virtually and heard by the assigned judge.

Non-essential matters will continue to be held virtually and heard by the assigned judge.
Mediation/alternate dispute resolution will be conducted virtually.

Steps implemented during the second phase to encourage physical distancing and reduce the number of people in any given room in courthouses include staggering case types, court calendars and courtroom use.

During phase two, non-judicial staffing levels will minimally increase to support necessary administrative court functions as well as to provide support for the increase in foot traffic in the courtroom.

Non-essential court staff will continue to work virtually.

The phase two plans were announced by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks.

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