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Civil: Court Operations in Civil Non-Family District Courts Under the 2O2O State of Disaster COVID-l9 and Related Coronavirus

  • 18 March 2020
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 817
  • 0 Comments

This General Order is issued in response to the Local State of Disaster that has been declared by the County Judge of Williamson County, as well as the declarations by the Governor of the State of Texas, and by the President of the United States, and in conformance with First Emergency Order Regarding the COVID- I 9 State of Disaster issued by the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals. (Misc. Docket No. 20-9042 (Tex.) Misc. Docket No. 20-007 (Tex. Crim. App.), accessed at https ://www.txcourts.gov/medial1446056/209042.pdf)

The Courts of Williamson County are open, “and every person...shall have remedy by due course of law." (Tx. Const. Art. I Sec. 13). The Court finds that the State of Disaster requires certain steps to be taken in order to mitigate risk to the health and safety of the public, parties, and employees of the Court, and so it is therefore ORDERED that, effective March 17,2020 and continuing until May I 1,2020, unless extended by further orders:

  1. Due to the limitations on mass gatherings limiting the Courts' ability to impanel juries, all jury trials in District Court Civil matters scheduled through May I l,2O2O are CONTNUED without prejudice to either party and, consistent with the directive of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals, this Court finds that the ends of justice are served by this continuance.
  2. During this period, the parties are strongly encouraged to continue to conference in order to resolve cases, where appropriate.
  3. Under no circumstances should a person appear in Court or at the courthouse who is experiencing symptoms of any illness. The Court will have the capability to conduct hearings in person, telephonically, and electronically. Notwithstanding the limits placed on the Courts in the interest of public health, employees, including chambers staff, will be teleworking between this date and May 11,2020 and are available by phone or email. Electronic filings shall continue to be made through the District Clerk's office.
  4. Designation of Essential Civil Court Matters: Essential Civil Court matters include any matters where there is immediate harm to liberty, life, limb, or property.
    1. Any Essential Civil Court matter shall be calendared with the Court Administrator for the court where it is assigned.
    2. All requested hearings shall contact, via electronic mail, with the Court Administrator of the court where the case is assigned and provide the following information:
      1.  Cause number and name of Defendant
      2.  Necessity of setting
      3. . Need for an interpreter or other accommodation
    3. Phones/contacting the courts: Contact the corresponding court's website for up-to-date contact information. Phones will be set up to forward to offsite locations if necessary.
  5. 5. Parties are encouraged to submit contested motions on a submission docket where available. Contested motions to be heard on submission are:
    1. Summary Judgments
    2. Matters agreed to be heard on submission by the parties with permission of the court.
  6. Please check with each court regarding the scheduling of uncontested matters. Each court has the availability to conduct hearings through a virtual courtroom. Please contact each court for their availability to conduct a virtual/electronic hearing. These platforms include CourtCall and Microsoft Teams

The Court reminds counsel and the public that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the District Courts function eff

Williamson County Announces Closures to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

  • 17 March 2020
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 1662
  • 0 Comments
Williamson County Announces Closures to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

March 16, 2020 (Williamson County, TX) -- Williamson County has implemented measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which includes the canceling and postponing of mass gatherings and community events. Below is a list of events held by Williamson County that have been canceled or postponed to a later date.

  • The ribbon cutting for the San Gabriel Ranch Bridge over Lackey Creek near Liberty Hill, which was expected to be held March 17, has been canceled.
  • The Williamson County Expo Center has cancelled all reserved and scheduled events. Staff will re-evaluate what will happen with events scheduled after April 12, every Monday and update accordingly.
  • The Southwest Williamson County Regional Park has canceled all softball, soccer and cricket league practices and games.
  • The Williamson County Parks and Recreation Department canceled all pavilion rental reservations with group size of 50 or more for Southwest Williamson County Regional Park, Champion Park, and Berry Springs and Park Reserve.
  • Learn How to Fish, the county’s annual free-family-event, has been suspended and will be held at a later date.
  • Vern’s No Frills 5K held every third Saturday of the month at Berry Springs Park and Reserve has been cancelled for March 21.
  • The Williamson County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Summer Youth Resource Fair that was scheduled for April 14, 2020 has been canceled.

Criminal: Modified Court Dates - Felony

  • 17 March 2020
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 762
  • 0 Comments

Due to the public health concern associated with the COVID-I9 virus, the Texas Association of Court Administration has recommended that courts in the State of Texas modiff their calendar for court proceedings to minimize the risk of exposure to court participants, staff and the public. Below is a chart of ihe rescheduled court dates for the 26n District Court. Please note that the time of the setting will not change, i.e., if you are currently set at 9:00 a.m. your client will be reset to 9:00 a.m' on the newly assigned court date.

Current Court Date New Court Date
March 23, 2020 June 23, 2020
March 26, 2020 Jlune 25, 2020
April 6, 2020 JuJy 2, 2020
April 9, 2020 July 14, 2020
April 20, 2020 July 14, 2020
April 23, 2020 July 14, 2020
May 4, 2020 July 16, 2020
May 7, 2020 July 16, 2020
May 18, 2020 July 16, 2020

Should your client need an earlier court date for a plea or emergency setting, please reach out to Deb Lewis at [email protected] and she will assist with scheduling the court date as we will have modified time periods through out the week to accommodate special proceedings. Also, if you have a vacation letter on file or a conflict with the newly issued court date, please email Deb Lewis at the email address listed above and she will discuss an alternative court date with you.

I greatly appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work together through this challenging time.

COVID-19 Prevention in WilCo

  • 17 March 2020
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 0
  • 0 Comments
COVID-19 Prevention in WilCo

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Williamson County has taken several steps. On Saturday, March 14, County Judge Bill Gravell made a local disaster declaration. On March 19, 2020, this disaster declaration was extended by the Commissioners Court until terminated. This was followed by an Second Order limiting mass gatherings to 10 people or fewer. The local disaster declaration will allow the County to allocate resources, utilize personnel and enact procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Williamson County. It also allows for state assistance to be requested if local resources and mutual aid are insufficient. Several Williamson County events have been canceled or postponed. For all of the latest news please check our dedicated COVID-19 page.

Criminal: General Order for Felony Cases During Covid-19 Disaster

Felony District Courts Under The 2o2o State Of Disaster Covid-19 And Related Coronavirus

  • 16 March 2020
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 779
  • 0 Comments

This General Order is issued in response to the Local State of Disaster that has been declared by the County Judge of Williamson County, as well as the declarations by the Governor of the State of Texas, and by the President of the United States, and in conformance with First Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster issued by the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Courts of Williamson County are open, "and every person...shall have remedy by due course of law," (Tx. Const. Art. I Sec. l3). The Court finds that the State of Disaster requires certain steps to be taken in order to mitigate risk to the health and safety of the public, parties, and employees of the Court, and so it is therefore ORDERED that, effective March 17,2020:

  1. Magistration of Defendants taken into custody shall continue as it takes place at present, as a critical function of the Courts.
  2. All felony criminal matters scheduled for an in-court appearance before any District Judge in Williamson County, between March 17,2020 and May 11,2020, including any associated deadlines are CONTINUED and will be reset, subject to the restrictions set out below. This General Order shall be extended beyond May 11,2020 commensurate with disaster declarations issued by federal, state and local authorities.
    1. The Court Administrator of each court shall notiify Counsel and/or the Defendant in each case of the new Court Date, once set.
    2. With respect to cases where the Defendant is held in the custody of the Sheriff of Williamson County, Defense Counsel shall contact their client (in person, telephonically, or via other means) to advise them ofthe reset date.
    3. The District Courts hearing felony matters will remain open for emergency hearings and plea and sentencing hearings with preference given to in custody cases (See paragraph 5 for setting procedure).
  3. Due to the limitations on mass gatherings limiting the Courts' ability to impanel juries, all jury trials in criminal matters scheduled through May I1,2020 are CONTINUED without prejudice to either party and, consistent with the directive of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals, this Court finds that the ends of justice are served by this continuance.
  4. 4. During this period, the parties are strongly encouraged to continue to conference in order to resolve cases, where appropriate.
    1. A. With respect to cases where the defendant is held in the custody of the Sheriff of Williamson County, defense counsel and the state are ORDERED to conference (in person, telephonically, or via other means) within 7 days of this order, or as soon as is practicable, to confer regarding: the status of the case, any request concerning bond, discovery and any recommendation to resolve the case.
    2. B. Thereafter, defense counsel shall contact their client (in person, telephonically, or via other means) within 3 days to advise their client of the progress of the case.
  5. 5. Counsel shall notify the Courts of all necessary requests for hearings, or entry of a plea. Under no circumstances should a person appear in Court who is experiencing symptoms of any illness. The Court will have the capability to conduct hearings in person, telephonically, and electronically.
    1. A. Requested hearings shall be docketed in the order presented, and, consistent with the directive of the County Judge in the interest of public health, there will be limits placed on the number of hearings which may be held per day in order to ensure that no more than 20 people are in a Courtroom at a time. Preference will be given to cases where the Defendant is
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