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Northern District extends COVID-19 Precautions to September 26, 2020

July 10, 2020

On June 24, 2020, Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa extended his previous administrative order 20-AO-0004-P (amended) outlining precautions in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic relating to criminal matters and public access to public hearings and other proceedings. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District has addressed the current pandemic through a number of administrative orders. The precautions outlined in the various administrative orders as of June 25, 2020 are:You may not enter the courthouse if you have been:Asked to self-quarantine by any hospital or health agency,Diagnosed that have been diagnosed with COVID-19,Experiencing symptoms or recently have experienced symptoms of COVID-19,You must inform a Court Security Officer upon entering the courthouse and may be restricted from entering the building if you:Have traveled in the last 14,Reside or have had close contact with anyone who has traveled within the last 14 days,Have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19Attorneys that have traveled in the last 14, reside or have had close contact with anyone who has traveled within the last 14 days, or that have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and that are scheduled to appear before the court in the near future must notify the court so that appropriate safeguard measures can be taken. The preference will be for the attorney to appear telephonically or via video conference with the approval of the presiding judge.Jury trials resumed on June 1, 2020. However, the court will consider motions to continue based on ongoing public health concerns.Non-jury proceedings, such as bench-trials and hearings, are being held as scheduled, unless continued by the presiding judge on a case-by-case basis. The parties are encouraged to hold these via telephone or video conferencing.Criminal matters (extended to September 26, 2020):The following are being held via video or telephone conference on the Court’s own motion, unless the defendant or juvenile objects:Detention hearingsInitial appearancesPreliminary hearingsWaivers of indictmentArraignmentsProbation and supervised release revocationsPretrial release revocationsAppearancesMisdemeanor pleas and sentencingProceedings under the Juvenile Delinquency Act, except for contested transfer hearings and juvenile delinquency adjudication or trial proceedings.Felony plea and sentencing hearings will be conducted in person, with the appropriate precautions (e.g. social distancing). However, the court will entertain motions to continue on a case-by-case basis.Civil case deadlines remain in place.Members of the public interested in listening in on public hearing or court proceedings scheduled for video conferencing or teleconferencing may contact the Clerk’s Office to obtain access information.The general prohibition against photographing, recording or rebroadcasting court proceedings remains in place.Discovery: The parties are encouraged to consider conducting discovery in a manner that avoids unnecessary travel or personal contact.Grand jury proceedings have been proceeding as scheduled as of May 11, 2020.To view the Public Administrative Orders, visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa’s website.

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