Southern District to resume limited in-person criminal proceedings next week

Limited in-person criminal proceedings can resume in all divisions of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana beginning next week, the district court announced Friday.

An order signed by Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson amends previous orders handed down in March, April and May as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Those orders, among other things, continued all jury trials, canceled all naturalization ceremonies and discussed delays caused by criminal trial continuances with respect to the Speedy Trial Act.

The June 5 order allows for the resumption in all divisions of limited in-person criminal proceedings beginning June 15. The date is subject to change, however, depending on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in each of the court’s four divisions.

All four federal courthouses in the Southern District of Indiana remain closed to the public, but the public can access these proceedings by telephone as ordered in any particular case.

Individuals who are necessary participants in any in-person proceeding will be permitted entry into the courthouse for those proceedings and will be subject to the screening and other requirements set forth in General Orders issued on March 20 and May 20, and any other general orders issued by the court.

Additionally, naturalization ceremonies are canceled through July 6. The Central Violations Bureau dockets in all divisions are also continued through at least Sept. 1. Payments will continue to be processed via pay.gov.

Jury trials were previously continued through and including July 20, per a May 12 order.

The order further says that court staff necessary to support the resumption of limited in-person proceedings will return to the courthouse on an as-needed basis. Initial appearance hearings and detention hearings via video teleconference technology are continuing to be conducted, and defendants who wish to do so may still have plea and sentencing hearings conducted via video teleconference.

Finally, civil proceedings are still being conducted remotely, including settlement and discovery conferences.

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