Courthouses closing Monday for several weeks or more in response to COVID-19
Delaware’s court system is coming to a near standstill as part of the state's COVID-19 response.
Delaware’s Chief Justice ordered nearly all court facilities closed to the public starting Monday. They will remain closed until at least April 15.
Chief Justice Collins Seitz Jr. says only the 24-hour Justice of the Peace Courts in each county remain open for bail payments and emergency filings for JP court.
Earlier this month, Delaware’s Superior Court suspended civil and criminal jury trials until April 15, and the state’s Supreme Court cancelled oral arguments through May.
Chief Justice Seitz also declared a judicial emergency last week, offering trial courts flexibility to issue 30-day continuances for trials and hearings in civil and criminal cases. It also paused time requirements under the Speedy Trial Guidelines and urged courts to use audiovisual devices to conduct proceedings.
Seitz said in a statement Sunday that despite courts’ use of video and phone technology instead of in-person appearances, several possible exposures to the virus occurred in the court system. He added that given the “escalating nature” of the public health emergency, these further measures needed.
Under the new rules, each courthouse will provide a method, like a drop box, for attorneys and the public to file paper documents when e-filing is not available.