EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) — The El Paso County Courthouse will be mostly closed to the public and operating on an emergency basis for the next two weeks after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.
According to a chief judge order issued on Aug. 2, in-person proceedings are canceled through Aug. 14, with a few exceptions. Jury trials will be rescheduled along with jury duty. The order advises anyone with a jury summons on or after Aug. 17 to check the court’s website for updates.
The courthouse will be open for filings related to public safety matters only, as defined by the order and explained here. Other criminal appearances on bond will take place virtually. Some appointments will happen over the phone.
A local trial attorney, Timothy Bussey, estimates thousands of civil and criminal cases are postponed at this point. The El Paso County Courthouse paused operations in the spring over COVID-19 concerns as well.
"The judges typically want to maintain control of their docket," Bussey said. "Because you want to, at least, have as many cases resolved as you have coming in. And with COVID right now that caseload keeps growing and growing."
Though some people dreading their jury summons will be happy to know jury trials are postponed, Bussey says most of his clients want to get their day in court over with.
“This can impact them with their employment," Bussey said. "So they want to try and clear their good name, and they can't do that until they get a trial."
Bussey gives Chief Judge William Bain credit for making a tough decision.
“Nobody has faced this before. The chief judge is trying to do the best he can and do some risk management while keeping an essential governmental function moving," he said.
The court's website gives some information about the infected staff member:
"The staff member was not assigned to any jury trials, but worked a criminal docket on July 27, 2020, in Division 15 and a four-hour proceeding on July 29, 2020, in Division 19. Anyone who appeared in Division 15 or 19 on these dates is asked to email 04Administration@judicial.state.co.us for more information and to assist with contact tracing."