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COVID19

Dear litigant:
1.  For the time being, all docket calls and bench trials are being held in a “virtual” courtroom that has been created using Zoom software which will be published live on the court’s YouTube channel to satisfy the open courts provision of the constitution.
2.  All litigants will receive an invitation by email to a docket matter that is scheduled.  To join in, litigants do NOT need to come to the courthouse.  They will need to join in with a device that has access to the internet, and has audio and video built in.  A desktop with a webcam, any modern laptop, a tablet, or an I-phone or Android smart phone will do the trick.  If you receive a link invitation by email, it will work as follows:  When you click on the link, Zoom will install and connect you.  If you have a device with audio and video, you may ignore the phone numbers provided; you will automatically be connected through the internet.  If you have a computer with no webcam or audio, you can join in with audio only by telephone (Zoom will give you a phone number to call when it installs), but you will be able to see and hear everyone else on your computer screen.  You may have to wait for awhile (just like in real court), but the judge will get to you.  
3.  We will start slowly.  The first few matters will be the judge and lawyers or pro-se parties only.  
4.  As we get better, we will be able to handle full bench hearings with witnesses, documents and exhibits, and sworn testimony with a court reporter, all in Zoom!  The documents will have to be provided to me before the hearing by email or by DropBox.  The lawyers will have to have been diligent in e-filing all pleadings ahead of time.  Each witness will need to appear by a device, and be invited with an email address.  Last minute attorneys and witnesses can be added during the hearing.  Zoom is powerful and flexible.  It can also provide breakout rooms where attorneys and witnesses can go to chat privately while waiting, or where attorneys can go to negotiate.
5.  In the future, when you schedule something on the docket with Cassie, make sure she has your email address and phone number.