Court Coronavirus Information
The Supreme Court of Texas and Court of Criminal Appeals, working with the Office of Court Administration are committed to ensure that justice continues to be served to all Texans in the current pandemic situation.
Current Emergency Orders Issued
In response to COVID-19, the Supreme Court has issued the following Emergency Orders that are still in effect.
Forty-Fifth Emergency Order(Effective Immediately, expires 2/1/2022)
Renews the forty-third (general) emergency order. The order is effective immediately and expires February 1, 2022. The following are the key items of the new order:
- Reduces the time period for justice and municipal courts’ authority to modify or suspend trial-related or pretrial hearing-related deadlines and procedures for a stated period ending no later than March 1, 2022 (the Forty-Third Order had extended this authority for a stated period ending no later than April 1, 2022);
- Subject to constitutional limitations and review for abuse of discretion, continues the authority of all courts, without a participant’s consent, to require or allow remote hearings, consider sworn statements made out of court or sworn testimony given remotely, conduct proceedings away from the court, require participants to provide certain COVID-related information to the court, and take any other reasonable action to avoid exposing court proceedings and participants to the threat of COVID-19;
- Continues the authority of courts, without a participant’s consent, to modify certain procedures and deadlines in CPS cases for certain stated periods of time;
- In criminal cases where confinement in jail or prison is a potential punishment, remote jury proceedings must not be conducted over the objection of the defendant or the prosecutor. In all other cases, continues the authority of courts to conduct remote jury trials without consent, except that the court must consider on the record or in a written order any objection or motion related to the remote jury proceeding;
- Provides that a timely objection to a remote jury proceeding may be granted for good cause;
- Continues the authority of the chief justices of the courts of appeals and local administrative district judges/municipal court presiding judges to mandate compliance with the minimum standard health protocols that they adopt for their courtrooms and the public areas of court buildings;
- Requires OCA to continue issuing best practices as necessary.
Forty-Fourth Emergency Order (Effective Immediately, expires 1/1/2022)
The Supreme Court also issued the Forty-Fourth Emergency Order to address the closing of the Texas Eviction Diversion Program to new applicants by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Services. The order expires January 1, 2022. The order continues the processes related to actions in which the defendant may have a pending application. The following are key items of the new order:
- Amends citation language that must be included in an action for eviction to recover possession of residential property to include a link to information regarding rental assistance programs generally rather than language specific to the Eviction Diversion Program;
- Continues the requirement that a judge confirm whether or not the plaintiff has any pending applications for rental assistance, including applications for rental assistance through the Texas Eviction Diversion Program, or has provided any information or documentation directly to a rental assistance provider for the purpose of receiving rental assistance;
- Continues the previous emergency order requirements in cases in which the plaintiff has a pending application for rental assistance (i.e., abate case for 60 days, make the case confidential, inform the parties how to reinstate the case, dismiss the case after the abatement period expires without the need for a party to file a motion or request the court to do so); and
- Provides that if rental assistance is available, the judge should discuss available rental assistance programs and the procedures in the Forty-Fourth Emergency Order with the parties.