We recently sent out and displayed a notice about a change in the courts due to the Covid-19 restrictions at the moment. Since then Harris County did take more precautions for the general public. Schools had closed and restaurants had gone to only providing drive-thru and curbside pickup. All governments had advised and asked us to practice social distancing as much as possible.
However, since then, Harris County has entered into a Stay Home, Work Safe Order. This was announced March 24th and put into effect as of midnight. The order legally shut down all nonessential businesses. Virtually all workers except those that provide food, utilities, or emergency services are home. The punishment is a heavy fine and 180 days in jail for leaving the home and gathering for anything other than essentials like food and medicine. All these precautions are to stop the spread of the virus as soon as possible until we can eradicate it.
This means that the court’s closures and rescheduling will stay in effect for the time being. If you are in the process of needing a court date, you should continue to follow the instructions in the earlier mandate that you can find below.
The Courts’ Closures and Rescheduling
Every sector of public life has done its best to eliminate all non-essential tasks. The courts are doing the same to prevent anybody in court buildings catching the virus either. We understand that this is going to be inconvenient for plenty of people. But we know that everyone wants to stay and keep their loved ones safe.
On March 12th, the Board of Judges of Harris County sent out an order declaring the district court’s closures and limitations while we are dealing with the virus.
View this Inclement Weather, Emergency, and Public-Health Scheduling Procedures document here: HC_District_Courts_Emergency_Scheduling_Procedures_2020
And for the District Clerk’s Court Alert’s Webpage and Docket: https://www.hcdistrictclerk.com/Common/About/HarveyUpdate.aspx
Some important notes before reading it:
- It does not apply to defendants that do not yet have a court date in an assigned court.
- All defendants who are released from custody on or after March 16th must report to court as directed.
- All other defendants who are released on bond before March 16th that are scheduled to appear between March 16th and April 3rd will have their date rescheduled and do not need to appear in court.