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Following Michigan Supreme Court Administrative Order, Muskegon County Courts Implement Phased Approach to Reopening Courthouse to the PublicMuskegon, MI May 12th 2020 –As a result of the ongoing COVID -19 crises, the Muskegon County Courts have again extended their closure to the general public until further order of the court. On May 6th 2020 the Michigan Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 2020-14 which establishes a 4 phased process for all state trial courts to re-open courthouse facilities to the general public.Under the Michigan Supreme Court Guidelines, each phase requires a minimum of 14 days to complete. The Muskegon County Courts’ readiness to enter each phase is dependent on whether the following criteria have been satisfied:1. There have been no COVID-19 confirmed or suspected cases in the court facility within a 14-day period; or, confirmed or suspected cases have occurred in the court facility, but deep cleaning of exposed areas and applicable employee self-quarantine actions have been taken.2. There is a downward trajectory of positive tests as a percent of total tests within a 14-day period (flat or increasing volume of tests); and,3. State and local orders restricting movement and/or requiring shelter in-place have been rescinded; and,4. Regional health care facilities are able to treat all patients without crisis care.Court leaders will regularly communicate with local public health officials regarding data specific to our community and whether the above criteria have been met. Due to the governor’s current ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ Executive Order, the first phase cannot start until after May 28th 2020.As the courts continue to operate in the early phases of this plan, court employees will continue to work remotely as much as possible. The frequency and use of remote hearings will continue to expand, courtrooms will continue to be limited to no more than 10 people, and social distancing for all persons within the courthouse will continue to be required. In later phases, additional staff and members of the public will be permitted to conduct normal business operations within the courthouse. The 4th and final phase is a return to full capacity and does not occur until local, state and federal governments agree that the pandemic has ended.Consistent with the governor’s most recent executive order, as well as local judicial order, court staff and members of the public are required to wear a face mask or face covering upon entering the courthouse, to the extent that it is medically tolerable.Anyone with a scheduled hearing or pending court matter will receive notice, via the US mail, regarding future hearing dates – whether in person or via video conference technology (Zoom).For all parties noticed to appear for a proceeding via Zoom video conference technology, it is important to understand that the court is not able to provide you with technical assistance, nor time to test and/or troubleshoot technical issues. Parties are advised to please take the time, before a scheduled court date, to test your device, gain familiarity with the platform, and insure that your connection is adequate. Please test Zoom on your Windows, Apple, or Android device and networking prior to any proceeding and also consider reviewing Zoom training and support materials.Links for Zoom, court dockets, and information about online court payments are listed below:
Due to the governor’s current ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ Executive Order, the courts will continue to be closed until May 28th 2020. After the 28th, the courts will begin a 4-phased approach to re-open courthouse facilities to the general public.
As a result of the ongoing COVID -19 crisis, the Muskegon County Courts have again extended their closure to the general public until Monday, May 18th 2020.
During the coronavirus pandemic court closure, and pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Order 2020-06, video recordings of Circuit and Family Court proceedings on or after April 7th, and continuing until further notice of the court, can be provided at no fee. To request a video recording, complete the form linked below or mail the request to the Judge’s office who conducted the court proceeding.
Case evaluations currently scheduled for April 17 will be rescheduled for a day in May or early June. They should expect expect to hear from the court early next week. We thank all of you for your patience and understanding.