A. All emergency protection orders (G.L. c. 209A; c. 258E; c. 140) issued after notice prior to the issuance of this order and that are due to expire on or after March 18, 2020, shall remain in effect until the matter is rescheduled and heard by the court.
B. Any orders issued prior to March 18th with a hearing scheduled during the pendency of this Order are to remain in full force and effect until the matter is rescheduled and heard by the court, unless an order issues by the court terminating the order at an earlier date.
C. Any protection orders (G.L. c. 209A, c. 258E, c. 140) issued at a hearing after notice during the pendency of this Order which was not heard in person may be issued only until such date at which the court can schedule an in- person hearing.
D. All cases scheduled for a court event between March 18, 2020 and May 1, 2020 shall be CONTINUED to a date no earlier than May 4, 2020 and no less than 60 days from the date of the scheduled event or to a date by agreement of the parties and the respective clerk’s office. Counsel or parties should contact the Clerk’s Office by telephone to schedule an event that has been continued as a result of this Order. Any new matters should be scheduled for a date after May 4, 2020.
E. Persons who have been assessed fees, fines, or court costs, including probation supervision fees, in a criminal matter that are due between March 18, 2020 and May 1, 2020 may pay their fee or fine online through the e-pay portal that is accessible at www.masscourts.org. No fees, fines, or costs shall be collected at a courthouse while this Order is in effect. If a person is unable to pay such fee or fine through the e-pay portal, the requirement that such fee or fine be paid during that time frame is deferred until May 4, 2020 and Courts shall extend payment due dates to May 31, 2020. The deferment of such payment shall not operate to extend a person’s probation.
F. In order to provide staffing for these procedures, Regional Administrative Justices, First Justices, Clerk-Magistrates, and Chief Probation Officers are to designate a rotating skeleton schedule of the necessary personnel needed on site to accomplish the administrative tasks and to be available to answer telephone calls from the public.
G. Where a trial or an evidentiary hearing is postponed as a result of this Order, the parties may seek a conference with the court to address matters arising from the postponement, which shall be conducted by telephone or videoconference.
H. Upon a showing of exceptional circumstances, a party whose trial or evidentiary hearing is postponed by this Order may seek an exception from this Order by motion directed to the Trial Court. No exception shall be granted except with approval of the judge and the Chief Justice of the District Court. Where a party seeks a jury trial, no exception shall be granted without consultation of the jury commissioner.
I. This Order does not affect any court’s consideration of matters that can be resolved without in-person proceedings through communication by telephone, videoconferencing, email, or other comparable means.
Any other deviation from this Order must be sought from the Chief Justice of the District Court.
This Order shall take effect on March 18, 2020.