Court Coronavirus Information

Court Operation Guidance 

Most Recent Guidance

September 18, 2020

Supreme Court Issues Two New Emergency Orders Regarding Jury Trials & Eviction Proceedings

Today the Supreme Court issued the Twenty-Sixth Emergency Order (effective October 1) that replaces the Twenty-Second Emergency Order and sets out the limitations and criteria for jury trial proceedings on or after October 1. The key highlights from the order are:

  • In-person jury trials must not be held prior to December 1, except as noted below:
    • The local administrative district judge for the county in which the court is located has, before the jury proceeding and after conferring with the judges in the county and the local public health authority, submitted an operating plan for conducting jury proceedings consistent with OCA’s updated Guidance for conducting jury proceedings;
    • To assist with coordination of local resources and to manage capacity issues, the judge has obtained prior approval for that jury proceeding from the local administrative district judge and Regional Presiding Judge;
    • Not more than five days before the jury proceeding, the local administrative district judge has consulted the local public health authority and verified that local health conditions and plan precautions are appropriate for the jury proceeding to proceed;
    • The court has considered on the record any objection or motion related to proceeding with the jury proceeding at least seven days before the jury proceeding or as soon as practicable if the objection or motion is made or filed within seven days of the jury proceeding; and
    • The court has established communication protocols to ensure that no court participants have tested positive for COVID-19 within the previous 30 days, currently have symptoms of COVID-19, or have had recent known exposure to COVID-19.
    • Except for non-binding proceedings, a court may not permit or require a petit juror to appear remotely unless the court ensures that all potential and selected petit jurors have access to technology to participate remotely. OCA has resources to assist courts with providing technology to potential and selected petit jurors. Please contact zoomhelp@txcourts.gov for more information.
    • Justice and municipal courts are prohibited from holding an in-person jury proceeding prior to December 1. See below for virtual jury trial options for justice and municipal courts.
    • District courts, statutory or constitutional county courts, and statutory probate courts are prohibited from conducting in-person jury proceedings on or after October 1 unless:
    • Except for criminal cases where confinement in jail or prison is a potential punishment, courts may conduct remote jury proceedings as long as the court considers on the record any objection or motion related to proceeding with the remote jury proceeding at least seven days before the proceeding or as soon as practicable if the objection or motion is made or filed within seven days of the jury proceeding.
    • In criminal cases where confinement in jail or prison is a potential punishment, remote jury proceedings must not be conducted without appropriate waivers and consent obtained on the record from the defendant and prosecutor.
  • Requires courts to continue to use all reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings remotely and prohibits courts from conducting in-person proceedings contrary to the Guidance for All Court Proceedings During COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Permits courts to modify or suspend deadlines and procedures through December 1, 2020, and for a period not to exceed 180 days from today’s date for a dismissal date in a CPS case.
  • Permits courts to continue conducting proceedings remotely away from the court’s usual location with reasonable notice and access to the participants and the public.

In addition, the Court issued yesterday the Twenty-Fifth Emergency Order that renews, as amended, the requirements of the Twenty-Fourth Emergency Order for certain statements in residential eviction pleadings. The order incorporates the CDC’s Eviction Moratorium Order provisions into requirements for petitions and notices in citations. The order also permits eviction proceedings to proceed under certain conditions.

OCA Updates Guidance for All Court Proceedings During the COVID-19 Pandemic for proceedings on or after October 1

In accordance with the Twenty-Sixth Emergency Order, today OCA updated its Guidance for All Court Proceedings During COVID-19 Pandemic to incorporate the requirements for conducting jury proceedings on or after October 1. Judges wishing to conduct jury proceedings on or after October 1 must submit a plan that addresses the protocols listed in the updated guidance. A template plan will be distributed to local administrative district judges early next week.