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Southern District COVID-19 Precautions

July 10, 2020

Courts around the nation have been forced to alter their operations to address the current pandemic. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa has issued a number of administrative orders to that end. The precautions outlined in the various administrative orders as of June 25, 2020 are: Hearing and Trials:All civil and criminal trials set in the Southern District on or before July 6, 2020 are continued until further order.  Non-jury criminal and civil trials and other hearings may be conducted at the discretion of each judge, giving deference to the concerns of litigants and witnesses. Grand Jury:The March 2020 and April 2020 sessions of the grand jury were cancelled. Paper filings:Paper filings must be placed in the locked dropbox inside the Court Security Screening stated at the entrance of the Southern District courthouses. Paper filings will be processed daily, and a file-stamped copy will be mailed to the filer. Payments: Use, orPay by cashier’s check or money order by placing the payment in the dropbox. A receipt will be mailed to the payer. No cash payments will be accepted. Criminal matters:If the defendant has been arrested and the speedy trial clock has begun, the Court granted continuances until May 28, 2020 to return an indictment, and the clock will exclude the time from March 16, 2020, to and including May 28, 2020. Initial appearances, arraignments, detention, and other bond hearings with in-custody defendants will be conducted via videoconference from the Muscatine, Polk, Pottawamie or Scott County jails. Felony plea or sentencing oprocedures are continued until June 27, 2020, unless the proceeding cannot be further delayed without serious harm to the interest of justice. In that case, the proceeding may be held via video or telephone conferencing with defendant’s consent and after consultation with counsel. To view the Public Administrative Orders, visit the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa’s website.

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