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Criminal Law & the Pandemic

Criminal Law & the Pandemic

During this pandemic under the Governors disaster declaration The Stornello Law Firm has remained in contact with all of the Court in Fort Bend and Harris County. The courts in Fort Bend County and Harris County have postponed all court dates. We are contacting all our clients as their court date come up to notify them of their new court dates.

In Fort Bend County each court has made its own rules on how this is handled. Important proceding will be help electronically.

FORT BEND COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 1-6 APPEARANCE POLICY

(Effective March 27, 2020)

In accordance with the Interim Guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 15, 2020; the Supreme Court of Texas First Emergency Order Regarding the State of Disaster dated March 13, 2020; and the Fort Bend County Community Guidelines issued March 16, 2020; and in consideration of protecting the health of our community, ALL DOCKETS (CIVIL AND CRIMINAL) IN THE COUNTY COURTS AT LAW NO. 1-6, IN FORT BEND COUNTY ARE HEREBY CANCELED UNTIL May 8, 2020, with the following exceptions:

ESSENTIAL PROCEEDINGS:

  • Criminal Magistration Proceedings
  • Juvenile Detention Hearings
  • Certain Mental Health Proceedings
  • Temporary Restraining Orders/ Temporary Injunctions (as needed)
  • Jail Disposition Proceedings

A limited number of participants will be permitted in the courtroom for these essential proceedings. Any court participants will be screened in accordance with CDC Guidelines. If you are feeling sick, do not come to the courthouse. Instead, contact the Court Coordinator to receive further instructions. Remote participation is encouraged and permitted for all proceedings.All other proceedings may be characterized as "non-essential" proceedings.

Each Court will handle non-essential proceedings at their discretion. Please contact you attorney if you have any questions.

The following procedures will be in effect for criminal cases in the District Courts of Fort Bend County, effective Friday, March 27, 2020.

  1. Defendants released on bond scheduled to appear in court from March 30, 2020 through May 1, 2020 will be rescheduled and do not need to appear in Court.A reset will be e-mailed to the attorney and asked for it to be returned to the court with signatures by e-mail.
  2. Defendants are instructed to contact their attorney or their bonding company to find out your new court date.If you have not been notified of a new court date by May 1, 2020, you must contact the Court Coordinator Gabriela Romero directly to receive your next court date.The phone number is(832) 471-4905 or by email at Gabriela.Romero@fortbendcountytx.gov
  3. If you do not have an attorney, contact the Court immediately.The Court’s phone number is (832) 471-4905 or Gabriela.Romero@fortbendcountytx.gov
  4. The Court will be operating on a reduced schedule but will be available for emergency matters.Some matters may be heard using telephonic or video remote appearances, please contact the coordinator to make arrangements.

It is anticipated that the Court may return to its normal schedule on May 4, 2020.

In Harris County:

HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT CRIMINAL COURT DOCKETS
In response to the closure of some courtrooms by the Harris County Engineer, the following docket schedule is in effect until further notice.
District Criminal Court Dockets 25MAR2020.pdf

HARRIS COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTS AT LAW

Bond Dockets - Amid health concerns concerning the pandemic and in consideration of the health and safety of staff, attorneys, and the citizens we serve, County Criminal Courts at Law will suspend dockets for accused individuals on bond until further notice, or until the state of emergency is lifted. All individuals with an attorney, hired or appointed, shall not attend their court settings until further notice. Please continue to contact your attorney if you have questions. If you do not have an attorney, please contact the court for your future date. The court's contact information can be found on the individual court's website.

Jury Trials - All jury trials will be suspended until further notice.

Dockets for Individuals in Custody - County Criminal Courts at Law will reduce operations to jail cases only in four courtrooms with two courtrooms on the 8th floor and 2 courtrooms on the 9th floor of the Criminal Justice Center.
 

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