In light of the continuing public health risk posed by COVID-19 and the advisories and orders from the Centers for Disease Control, the Colorado Governor’s Office, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the El Paso County Department of Health recommending the continuation of active steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, the El Paso County Courthouse and the Teller County Courthouse, including the Probation Department in both counties, will continue operations at a reduced level.
Pursuant to the authority granted in Chief Justice Directive 95-01 and the directives found in the Order Regarding COVID-19 and Operation of Colorado State Courts, issued by Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan B. Coats on March 16, 2020 and as amended on March 20, 2020, and April 16, 2020, it is hereby ORDERED:
- Courthouse Operations: The El Paso County Courthouse, located at 270 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903, and the Teller County Courthouse, located at 101 Bennett Dr., Cripple Creek, CO 80813, will be open to the public on a limited basis from May 4, 2020 through May 31, 2020, as set forth in this Order.
For only those filings related to public safety matters listed in Section 6 of this Order, the El Paso County Courthouse and Teller County Courthouse Clerk’s Offices will be open from 8 am to 3 pm, Monday through Friday, with the exception of legal holidays. During operating hours, the Clerk’s Office at each courthouse will only accept paper filings related to the public safety matters listed in Section 6 of this Order. All other paper filings shall be mailed directly to the courthouse or e-filed through CCE.
Members of the public are strongly encouraged to wear masks in the courthouse, and employees are required to wear masks when they are within six feet of anyone else in the courthouse.
In the common areas of the courthouse, including hallways outside courtrooms, there shall not be more than 10 people gathered, ensuring that people can be at least six feet away from each other.
- For any in-person proceeding that is authorized under this Order, the continued use of a phone or audio-visual device to conduct the entire proceeding is still highly recommended.
For those proceedings that are authorized to occur in-person under this Order, each judicial officer shall have the discretion either to conduct the proceeding by phone or audio-visual device, or to require in-person attendance of the parties, counsel, and witnesses. All other proceedings (i.e., not authorized to be in-person) must be conducted by phone or audio-visual device, or rescheduled by the court.
No judicial officer shall require the in-person attendance of any “Vulnerable individuals” without prior permission from the Chief Judge.
“Vulnerable individuals” are:
- Individuals who are 65 years and older;
- Individuals with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma;
- Individuals who have serious heart conditions;
- Individuals who are immunocompromised;
- Pregnant women; and
- Individuals determined to be high risk by a licensed healthcare provider.
“Vulnerable individuals” does not include any in-custody criminal defendant.
The Sheriffs of El Paso and Teller County shall not transport to court any defendant who is exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms, nor shall courthouse security admit anyone into any courthouse who is exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms.
No judicial officer is required by this order to hold any in-person proceedings.
Judicial Officers shall not allow more than ten people in their courtroom at any time.
Judicial officers shall require all people in court to be at least 6 feet apart from each other.
After every courtroom proceeding, court staff shall ensure the courtroom is sanitized.
Court staff shall comply with Dr. Kelly’s recommendations for sanitizing, as set forth on pages 3-4 in CJO 2020-17 and CJO 2020-18.
- DISTRICT COURT CASES. Subject to the public safety exceptions noted in Section 6 of this Order, the following applies to district court dockets (Divisions 1-24):
- Criminal Cases.
- Subject to the exceptions set forth in Section 3.A.II., defendants who are out- of-custody and have court appearances between May 4, 2020 and May 31, 2020, will be prohibited from entering the courthouse.
Out-of-custody defendants with attorneys shall immediately contact their attorney to receive further direction. Attorneys shall be in contact with the division clerk to determine whether the scheduled matter will be heard by telephone or video under the newly revised Crim. Rule 43.
Whenever a represented defendant is given a new court date, the attorney shall arrange for the defendant to sign a notice for the next court date and shall then file that signed notice with the court. Alternatively the attorney shall arrange for the defendant to speak with the division clerk by phone so that the division clerk can order defendant over the phone to appear on the new court date.
In either case, once defendants acknowledge their bond has been continued for a new court date, they are ordered to immediately notify their bondsman that their bond has been continued until the new court date.
Out-of-Custody Defendants without attorneys shall immediately contact (by phone or email) the court clerk for the division in which the case is pending to receive furth