Policy Guidelines Hampden County - Guidelines for Operation for Criminal First Session During COVID-19 Pandemic
Table of Contents
Protocol for First Session
The following protocol concerning the scheduling of events in the first session of the Hampden County Superior Court will take effect on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.
Pre-trial hearings, status conferences and scheduling conferences will continue to be handled administratively, unless the parties request otherwise. All other hearings will be conducted remotely except as indicated below. Events scheduled for remote hearing will be held via Zoom. Parties should confer prior to hearing, and all exhibits and materials the parties intend to introduce or reference should be submitted in advance. For in-person hearings, the parties should also submit a list of witnesses in advance.
Events scheduled for cases in which the defendant is held, with the exception of evidentiary hearings involving witness testimony, shall be scheduled as remote hearings unless the defendant requests an in-person hearing, in which case all parties shall appear in person.
The following list of events shall be scheduled for in-person hearings if the defendant is not held:
- Arraignments and VOP initial appearances
- All detention hearings, including dangerousness, bail, and bail revocation hearings Final VOP submissions and contested hearings
- Change of plea hearings
- Evidentiary hearings on pre-trial motions
Parties with Covid-19 related concerns about appearing for an in person hearing should address those concerns with the Court in advance of the hearing. The Court will take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety of anyone involved in an in-person hearing.
Matters scheduled for remote hearings may be converted to in-person hearings at the defendant's request.
The Court may convert a remote hearing, even one in progress, to an in-person hearing at a later date if, after consultation with the parties, the Court determines that the remote hearing is ineffective, inefficient, impracticable or inconsistent with the protection of constitutional rights.