Southern Indiana District sets reopening for July 6

The federal courthouses in the Southern Indiana District will reopen to the public July 6 and in-person court proceedings will begin resuming on a staggered schedule. All individuals will be required to answer screening questions to be allowed inside courthouses and to wear facemasks in all public spaces.

Also, court-officiated naturalization ceremonies will resume beginning August 13.  Prior to that date, individuals may be naturalized by a judicial officer when and under the circumstances the court deems appropriate.

Southern Indiana District Court Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson issued a pair of orders late Friday, moving the federal courts back to in-person proceedings. The Southern Indiana District closed the courthouses and suspended all jury trials in an order issued March 20, 2020.

Under the first General Order issued Friday, federal courthouses in Indianapolis, Evansville, New Albany and Terre Haute will be open to the public starting Monday, July 6. Everyone seeking to enter will have to answer a series of questions regarding symptoms and exposure to COVID-19. Anyone indicating they may have the coronavirus will be denied entry.

Also, all persons entering and within the public spaces of the courthouses will have to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others and to wear a face covering. The face mask requirement does not apply to Individuals with medical exemptions or to individuals excused from wearing a mask in a courtroom by the presiding judge.

The second General Order issued Friday outlines the resumption of in-person court proceedings. The schedule for in-person proceedings is as follows:

•July 6: plea and sentencing hearings in all divisions

•July 20: single defendant criminal jury trials

•Aug. 17: in-person civil proceedings, including civil jury trials.

Members of the public may attend jury trials by remote viewing inside the courthouse and/or in the courtroom galleries. Because of space limitations and social distancing requirements, seating for the public may be more limited.

Parties are encouraged the consider conducting proceedings and depositions remotely as permitted by law. Also, certain proceedings such as initial appearance and detention hearings as well as civil conferences are continuing to be held through video conferencing and telephonically.

The District  Court has created a COVID-19 response page on its website that contains all orders, press releases, and other information regarding Court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updates pertaining to the operations of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana are available on its website here.

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