BERKS COUNTY COURT SYSTEM CORONAVIRUS RELATED COURT HEARING POSTPONEMENTS
Updated 4/3/2020 at 4:00 PM The Berks County Court of Common Please has declared a Judicial Emergency for the following time period: March 17, 2020 to April 30, 2020.
In an effort to further restrict potential COVID-19 exposure within the courts, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered that all Pennsylvania courts – including trial and intermediate appellate courts – are closed to the public for non-essential functions, beginning March 19, 2020, through at least April 30, 2020. The statewide court closure also includes magisterial district courts, Philadelphia Municipal Court, and Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Arraignment Division. In addition, the Court has suspended all time calculations and deadlines relevant to court cases or other judicial business through April 3, 2020. The Court has also authorized and encouraged the use of advanced communication technology to conduct emergency court proceedings. In the Courts of Common Pleas, the Order outlines essential functions as:
• Emergency bail review and habeas corpus hearings;
• Gagnon I hearings;
• Bench warrant hearings pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 150;
• Juvenile delinquency detention hearings;
• Juvenile emergency shelter and detention hearings;
• Temporary protection from abuse hearings;
• Emergency petitions for child custody;
• Emergency petitions for guardianship;
• Mental health reviews (50 P.S. §302) ;
• Any pleadings or motions relating to public health concerns and involving immediate and irreparable harm; and,
• Any other function deemed by a president judge to be essential consistent with constitutional requirements.
Berks County Magisterial District Courts are open for the performance of essential services only. Court offices are closed to the general public.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania remains open for official business, however the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia is closed from Wednesday, March 25, 2020, through Sunday, March 29, 2020. No one will be permitted to enter the building during this closure with the exception of cleaning personnel. The Byrne Courthouse will reopen for official business on Monday, March 30, 2020. Access to other Eastern District of Pennsylvania courthouses and locations is currently limited to judges, Court personnel, and attorneys attending court proceedings or having other official business with the Court.
Additionally, PA Governor Tom Wolf has ordered that all "non-life sustaining businesses" in Pennsylvania close their physical locations Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 8:00 PM until further notice. Accordingly, POLYAK LAW OFFICE physical office is now closed. However, in the view of Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, and POLYAK LAW OFFICE, restricted access to law offices and facilities by attorneys, staff, and clients is permitted to the degree necessary to allow attorneys to participate in court functions deemed essential by a President Judge per the PA Supreme Court’s order of March 18, 2020, so long as social distancing and other mitigation measures are employed for the protection of lawyers, staff, and clients. Pursuant to the Governor’s order, all other business must be conducted remotely.