County Court Emergency Modified Court Operations of the Second Judicial District

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County Court Emergency Modified Court Operations of the Second Judicial District

   Government has an ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of its constituents and jurisdiction, including the Courts of the Second Judicial District. It also has a legal obligation to operate in a prudent and efficient manner, even during an impending threat or following a disaster. The decision to invoke emergency modified court operations as well as the return to normal operations shall be made by the presiding judges of the district, county, and juvenile courts after consultation with local stakeholders. The designation to invoke emergency modified court operations or to return to normal operations shall be made on the initiative of said judges, who may consider whether there has been an implementation of the Continuity of Operations Management Program (COMP), as enacted by the Sarpy County Board of Commissioners or by the Cass County Board of Commissioners or Otoe County Board of Commissioners in relation to Otoe County Court operations. This COMP provides guidance to perform the court’s essential functions as part of a continuity of operations capability. Local stakeholders shall include but not be limited to the following: Second Judicial District Judges, District and County Court Clerks and Clerk Magistrates, County Board, local law enforcement (Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs), County Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, local Health Department, Probation, Corrections, and State and County Bar Leaders.

   When an event occurs that may require the implementation of Emergency Modified Court Operations, the presiding judges of the district court, county court, and the separate juvenile court shall convene. The judges will identify which court operations are to be modified to maintain essential court functions, including:

   1. Criminal proceedings;
   2. Receipt of filings;
   3. Processing of warrants;
   4. Juvenile intake/detention filings;
   5. Processing of appeals;
   6. Any proceedings required by law;
   7. Protection orders;
   8. Landlord/tenant proceedings; and
   9. Any other matters determined to be “essential” by the presiding judges.

   The Presiding Judges of the District Court and the Juvenile Court shall contact the Clerks of the District Court and the Administrative Office of the Nebraska Supreme Court concerning the event and the implementation of Emergency Modified Court Operations.

   The Presiding Judge of the County Court shall contact the Clerks of the County Courts concerning the event and the implementation of Emergency Modified Court Operations.

   The Public Information Director for the respective counties shall provide notification of the Emergency Modified Court Operations and the contingency plans to attorneys and the public as well as the return to normal operations. Said information shall also appear on counties’ and courts’ websites. If practical, the contingency plan shall also be posted outside the courthouse and, if available, outside the courtrooms. Presiding judges of respective courts will also keep staff who may interact with the public informed of modified operations.

   Depending on the reason for modified operations, the presiding judges shall utilize procedures to carry out essential court functions, including, but not limited to:

   1. Remote technology;
   2. Alternative sites for hearings;
   3. Alternative filing methods; and
   4. Physical access by the public.

   These procedures shall be reduced to writing and provided to the other judges of the district, including any subsequent modifications. 

Approved April 19, 2023.