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County Events

Civil: Court Procedures for Civil Cases During COVID-19 Disaster

  • 31 March 2020
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 0
  • 0 Comments

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of disaster declared by the Governor, the Stay Home Stay Safe Order issued by Williamson County and the Emergency Orders that have been issued by the Supreme Court of Texas,1 and to protect the due process rights and public health of all citizens, the 26th District Court has suspended in-person hearings until at least May 11, 2020 and all jury trials until at least June 1, 2020. In the interim, hearings may be conducted via Microsoft Teams video conference application as deemed necessary by the Court. For specific instructions on obtaining and using the Team App, see Hearing Procedure and How To’s below.

All in-person hearings and jury trials currently scheduled during this state of disaster are hereby postponed and will be rescheduled. Contact the Court to reset your case to a date after May 11, 2020. It should be noted that this date is subject to being extended as conditions change. All updates will be posted on the 26th Judicial District Court webpage. https://www.wilco.org/Elected-Officials/District-Courts/26th-District-Court

Attorneys and litigants are strongly encouraged to continue to diligently work their cases in order to reach an agreement or otherwise prepare for trial. To that end, and to ensure the civil justice system functions as efficiently as possible under the circumstances, lawyers and litigants may request telephonic or video hearings to resolve their disputes. Submission requests will be considered for all uncontested matters.

  1. All pleadings must first be filed and accepted by the district clerk's office before requesting a hearing.
  2. The court will determine whether to grant a requested hearing and the procedures for introducing evidence.
  3. If approved, requested hearings announcing less than 1 hour will be heard on Tuesday mornings of each week. Approved hearing requests announcing for more than 1 hour will be heard on Wednesday mornings. To request a hearing via Microsoft Teams application, contact court administrator, Deb Lewis, at 512-943-1226 or by email at dlewis@wilco.org.
  4. Some matters may be considered upon written submission. Written submission requests must include any affidavits, declarations or other necessary supporting records. This method is encouraged for all agreed motions and orders, as well as for non-testimonial matters. After receiving a submission hearing request, court staff will then advise whether any further communication or briefing will be required from any party.

HEARING PROCEDURE

In the event a Teams hearing or meeting is scheduled, you will receive an email with a calendar invitation to the meeting. Counsel may access Microsoft Teams to

  1. The court administrator will send a Teams Hearing/Meeting invitation at least 24 hours in advance of the setting to the following distribution list:
    1. Attorneys for all respective parties
    2. The Judge, and
    3. The Court Reporter
    4. Any designated parties or witnesses. Plaintiff and Defense Counsel must provide a list with email addresses&

General Order for Felony Cases During COVID-19 Disaster- UPDATED

  • 24 March 2020
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 255
  • 0 Comments

The Courts of Williamson County remain open, and this order is entered into with the intent of ensuring that defendants in felony cases may be heard in the District Courts with Felony Jurisdiction in Williamson County.

Because of the state of emergency ordered by the Governor, and in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court ORDERS that, until further order, hearings in felony cases are restricted to the following issues:

  1. Pleas;
  2. Emergency Hearings; and
  3. Bail Hearings.

Additionally, because of the public health risk associated with in-person gatherings as articulated in various executive orders issued by the President, Governor, and County Judge, the court ORDERS that EFFECTIVE MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2020, hearings in felony cases shall be conducted exclusively on an electronic basis, and in conformance with the “Procedure for Setting and Conducting Electronic & Telephone Court Hearings in Felony Cases” attached as Exhibit A.

As in previously adopted orders, the Court reminds counsel that we take seriously our obligation to balance the interest of justice and the health and safety of our courthouse community and the community at large, and we request patience as our processes continue to evolve with this exigency.

IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 24th DAY OF MARCH, 2020

Click here for the signed order.

EXHIBIT A

PROCEDURE FOR SETTING AND CONDUCTING
ELECTRONIC & TELEPHONE COURT HEARINGS IN FELONY CASES

  1. Hearings in Felony cases are limited to Pleas, Emergency Hearings, and Bail Hearings. 
  1. Hearings will be conducted electronically using the Microsoft Teams application. In the event a hearing or other meeting is scheduled you will receive an email with a calendar invitation to the meeting. At the appointed time, all invitees will join the meeting by selecting the link provided. 
  1. Counsel may access Microsoft Teams to join a meeting anytime, from any device, with or without a Microsoft Teams account. To join as a guest: 
    1. You will receive an email from the Court with a link to “Join Microsoft Teams Meeting.”  Click on this link. 
    2. It will bring you to a webpage where you can choose to “Download the Teams App” or “Join on the Web.” You can choose either one.   
      1. If you are on a desktop computer, “Join on the Web” is easiest.  Note: You must use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your web-browser to use Teams on the web. 
      2. If you are using a mobile device, downloading the Teams App is easiest. 
    3. It will ask you to allow Teams to use your Audio and Video from your computer (you must have a camera and a microphone), and it will ask you to type in your name and click “Join Now.” 
    4. This will place you in the “Lobby” for the Videoconference to begin. 
    5. The person coordinating the call will let you into the Videoconferenc

WCCHD notice of Emergency Meeting Via Video/Telephone Conference Call

Due to the existence of an emergency related to the Corona Virus epidemic within the meaning of Section 551.125 Texas Government Code making the convening of a meeting at one location of a quorum of the board difficult or impossible.

  • 3/23/2020 6:30 PM
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 0
  • 0 Comments

Click the title or "Read More" for the signed agenda.

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: 248
  • 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

Sheriff’s Office makes changes to combat COVID-19

  • 18 March 2020
  • Author: bawassink
  • Number of views: 447
  • 0 Comments

Sheriff Chody’s commitment to the safety of the Williamson County community is steadfast. Sheriff Chody has ordered all available resources to be focused on addressing the immediate public safety needs of the community while confronting this Pandemic.

In response to the CDC’s recommendation and out of caution to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 Virus the following steps will be taken by the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office until further notice. These are being set in place out of concern and respect for each of our community members. Sheriff Chody asks for your patience and understanding in hopes that we will be able to resume normal operations when it becomes safe again to do so.

Sheriff’s Office Operations/Patrol:

  • Emergency/Life-Threatening calls or “In Progress” calls for service will be handled in the same manner as always and will not change.
  • Non-Emergency/Routine calls for service will be handled over the telephone, if possible. If a deputy is required, our communications staff have been directed to ask if anyone in the household is exhibiting symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.
  • Deputies will try to maintain a “social distance” out of concern and respect for the community.
  • Fingerprinting services for civilians have been suspended until further notice.
  • The Sheriff’s Citizens Academy has been postponed until further notice.
  • The Sheriff’s Junior Academies for the summer are under review.
  • The Sheriff’s Self Defense Classes are postponed until further notice.
  • The Sheriff’s Community Services programs are postponed until further notice.
  • All volunteer services have been suspended until further notice.
  • All 68A (Vehicle Inspections) have been suspended until further notice.
  • Visitors coming into the Secure Area of the Sheriff’s Office will be restricted.
  • Community members are encouraged to call-in where possible instead of coming to the Sheriff’s Office.

Jail/Corrections:

  • Enhanced medical screening will continue for prisoners and will be extended to Peace Officers, Attorneys and all staff entering the facility
  • Medical Staff will assess all incoming arrestees specifically for COVID-19 in the Sally Port. If the arrestee is showing symptoms of the virus, the arresting officer will be redirected to take the arrestee to a hospital. The arrestee will not be accepted in the jail until he/she has been cleared by a doctor.
  • Pursuant to a recommendation from Texas Commission on Jail Standards, all face-to-face visits for inmates have been cancelled until further notice except for attorney visits.

Access to the Jail will be limited to persons with a legitimate law enforcement purpose.

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