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Welcome to the Court of Common Pleas 43rd Judicial District

 
 
Virtual COPE classes are now available via a web-based platform; please go to our Custody Department link for the registration form and more details.
 

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Monroe County Court - Judicial Emergency

At this time, the Judicial Emergency extends through 6/30/2021 

Last Emergency Administrative Order Issued: 93 AD 2020 on 02/23/2021
Please note that this website/Special Coronavirus Announcements section will be updated as new information about the Court’s modified operations becomes available; please continue to check here often.
*Please note that the aforementioned protocols may be modified on a regular basis as the safety parameters and pandemic evolve.
 
As of March 16, 2020, President Judge Margherita Patti-Worthington declared a judicial emergency in the 43rd Judicial District of Pennsylvania for the period of March 16, 2020 to April 14, 2020.  On April 1, 2020, that original declaration period was extended to April 30, 2020 via the issuance of Emergency Administrative Order 73 AD 2020. On April 22, 2020, the Court’s Declaration of Judicial Emergency was extended to May 31, 2020 via the issuance of Emergency Administrative Order 76 AD 2020.  On May 29, 2020, Emergency Administrative Order 83 AD 2020 extended the Judicial Emergency through September 7, 2020. On September 2, 2020, Emergency Administrative Order 89 AD 2020 extended the Judicial Emergency through January 4, 2021.

 

 

 

On December 3, 2020, the President Judge issued Emergency Administrative Order 92 AD 2020 which extends the Judicial Emergency through June 30, 2021.

Selected excerpts from the latest Court’s Emergency Administrative Orders and the transitional protocols follow (electronic copies of ALL of the Court’s Emergency Administrative Orders are available by clicking the applicable link [in green] above):
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All Courts of the 43rd Judicial District, Monroe County, including Magisterial District Courts and the Court of Common Pleas, shall remain generally open for business with restricted public access (Court protocols available by clicking the area of interest in the links below).

The Court of Common Pleas shall conduct all proceedings, where practicable, using Advanced Communications Technology (ACT).

Magisterial District Courts shall conduct all hearings/proceedings using Advanced Communications Technology (ACT).

“Criminal and Civil jury selection and trials are SUSPENDED until further Order of this Court” has been updated pursuant to Emergency Administrative Order 93 AD 2020 (issued 2/23/2021) to reflect: Specially scheduled JURY SELECTION and TRIALS will resume in April 2021.

In-person access to Court facilities is specifically limited to Court and County employees whose main office is located within the particular Court facility. Litigants with scheduled proceedings and visitors to every other office shall be by appointment only and staggered to comply with Pennsylvania Department of Health safety protocols for building and room occupancy.  All persons entering any Court facility are subject to the restrictions denoted below:

1.   All Court employees and every person entering any Court Facility shall wear a facial covering which covers the nose and mouth, in accordance with the Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health at the time of the entry into the Court Facility (the Secretary’s Order, as well as any related amendments, updates, or new orders, may be found at  https://www.health.pa.gov/).

2.   All persons in all Court Facilities shall at all times maintain physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet of separation.

3.   Any person who meets one or more of the below criteria is prohibited from entering the Court facility:

a.   is currently directed to quarantine, isolate or self-monitor at home for COVID-19 by any doctor, hospital or health agency; or

b.   has been diagnosed with (and has not been medically cleared from isolation), or has had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 (within the last fourteen (14) days); or

c.   has flulike symptoms or a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit; or

d.   is not wearing a facial covering in accordance with paragraph 7 above; or

e.   has traveled outside of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within the last fourteen (14) days   

Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 600 is SUSPENDED subject to Constitutional limitations. Any postponement caused by this Judicial Emergency shall be considered a Court postponement and shall constitute excludable time for purposes of the application of Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 600.

Any state or local rule that restricts, directly or indirectly, the use of ACT in court proceedings is suspended.

Any state or local rule that impedes court filings by means other than in person delivery is suspended.​

 

PHASE 3 OPERATIONS

TRANSITION
 
​             As the Court continues to navigate what may be the “new normal” in operations and interaction with the public, We are mindful of our unwavering priority and goal of the health and safety of our employees and the public which has guided us throughout this pandemic.

 In accordance with the extension of the judicial emergency through and including June 30, 2021 ordered after consultation with state, regional and local medical experts, review of the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, and in compliance with the spirit of Governor Wolf and the Secretary of Health’s orders, We promulgate the following procedures for the 43rd Judicial District effective immediately, amending and replacing the operational protocols promulgated in this Court’s Administrative Orders: 89 A.D. on September 2, 2020; 85 A.D. on June 12, 2020 and 83 A.D. on May 29, 2020.


 

A. GENERAL PROVISIONS​

1. All persons entering any Court facility shall be screened using the COVID-19 questionnaire approved by the Court. Any person not meeting the health questionnaire criteria may be denied access to any Court facility and alternative accommodations will be made. Only persons who appear on lists provided to the Sheriff’s Department will be admitted to the Court facility. The Sheriff’s staff will continue to act as the “gatekeeper” in accordance with the emergency orders and these procedures.

 

2. All persons entering any Court facility shall wear face coverings in accordance with CDC and PA DOH guidelines, recommendations and Orders and this Court’s Emergency Administrative Orders and shall comply with all requirements therein including, but not limited to, maintaining physical distancing of at least 6 feet at all times.

 

3. Courthouse boxes and a limited number of blank printed forms will remain at the front door.  Forms are available on the Court’s website at www.monroepacourts.us, additional forms from the Prothonotary’s Office are available on the County’s website: http://www.monroecountypa.gov/Dept/Prothonotary/Pages/default.aspx.

 

4. Litigants will be permitted in the facility no more than 10 minutes prior to a scheduled proceeding and counsel shall speak with their clients outside of the court facility prior to the proceeding. Witnesses will remain outside of the court facility and will be called in as needed. Reasonable accommodations for the press and for public access to proceedings will be made upon request to Court Administration.

 

5. ACT will be used at all times for all proceedings when possible and practicable.  In-person appearances will continue to be limited unless otherwise ordered by the presiding Judge and in accordance with the safety protocols of this Court.

 

6. Unless otherwise directed by the presiding Judge, documents/exhibits for use in all types of proceedings must be emailed to the presiding Judge/Master/Hearing Officer or Conciliator to an address provided and to all opposing counsel/parties a minimum of 3 days prior to the scheduled proceeding or as specified herein or by the presiding Judge.  Exhibits must be pre-marked by counsel and able to be displayed at the time of the proceedings in an electronic format with a copy to opposing counsel/party.  

 

7. All proceedings shall be staggered by time and shall be scheduled to ensure that physical distancing in any given courtroom at all times and during ingress and egress can be maintained.  While this will inevitably create longer hearing times and more “down time” in court, it remains necessary for the health of the public, counsel and employees.

 

8. The Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts/Orphans Court will continue to receive filings via U.S. Mail, email, or front door drop-off to Security and process same, create motions lists, and immediately scan and docket each filing to insure electronic means of review and scheduling.

 

9. All criminal pleadings shall be filed using PACFile (see Monroe Co.R.Crim.P. 576.1).

 

10. Court Administration will send all motions/pleadings to all Judges’ chambers on a daily basis.

 

11. Judicial Assistants will continue to create orders for electronic signature and filing by each Judge where possible.

 

12. Court reporters/recorders will continue to provide orders for electronic signature and filing for each Judge.

 

13. Court employees will not attend off-site conferences or trainings unless approved by the President Judge or her designee.

 

 

14. Court events/meetings will be held using ACT where possible.​

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The following links will take you to the applicable section of the Court’s Phase 3 Operations – Transitional Protocol Document (please reference these links for specific protocols, methods of filing and / or helpful contact information):​    

  • Family (PFA Court; Custody; Domestic Relations Office [DRO]; Divorce)
  • Civil (Mortgage Foreclosure; Tax Assessment Appeals; Mental Health Act Proceedings; All Civil Filings; Arbitrations)
  • Juvenile - Delinquency (Detention Hearings; Juvenile Call; Adjudication Hearings; Disposition Hearings; Placement Reviews; Probation Reviews and Releases; Pre and Post- Adjudication Motions; Additional Hearing Procedures and Protocols; Administrative)
  • Juvenile - Dependency(Emergency Protective Custody [EPC]; Hearings; Motions; Visitation; TPR Hearings)
  • Magisterial District Courts(Public Access; Preliminary Arraignments; Scheduling Events; Correspondence; New Civil Case Filings; Contact Information)

 

*Please note that the aforementioned protocols may be modified on a regular basis as the pandemic and related safety parameters evolve. 

All Orders related to the current Judicial Emergency can be found on the Court’s website at www.monroepacourts.us or the UJS portal at http://www.pacourts.us/ujs-coronavirus-information.​ 
The Court continues to monitor developments on the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and any potential impact on Court operations, Court users and Court Employees.  We are communicating regularly with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, county officials and are also monitoring the latest information released through the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) as well as consulting local health care professionals.
As this situation continues to develop, we will look to the aforementioned resources as well as additional resources for guidance on any adjustments needed to protect the health and safety of Court users and Court and County employees.

* In-person access to Court facilities is specifically limited to Court and County employees whose main office is located within the particular Court facility. Litigants with scheduled proceedings and visitors to every other office shall be by appointment only and staggered to comply with Pennsylvania Department of Health safety protocols for building and room occupancy.  All persons entering any Court facility are subject to the restrictions denoted.


* All persons entering the main entrance to the Courthouse will be required to complete a simple COVID-19 questionnaire (which they will retain at all times).


 

* All Court employees and every person entering any Court Facility shall wear a facial covering which covers the nose and mouth. 

 

* All persons in all Court Facilities shall at all times maintain physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet of separation.


 

* Any person who meets one or more of the below criteria is prohibited from entering the Court facility:

- is currently directed to quarantine, isolate or self-monitor at home for COVID-19 by any doctor, hospital or health agency; or

- has been diagnosed with (and has not been medically cleared from isolation), or has had close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 (within the last fourteen (14) days); or

- has flulike symptoms or a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit; or

- is not wearing a facial covering in accordance with paragraph 7 above; or

          - has traveled outside of the United States of America within the                    last ​fourteen (14) days
Individuals should come to Court facilities during this time only if they are required to be there physically.  With alternative means of filing available to court users versus over-the-counter filing (see COVID-19 INFO/FAQs) and with more proceedings being conducted via alternative communication technology (ACT), please be sure you need to be here and please come alone:
-     Do not bring children to the Courthouse.
-     Do not bring relatives or friends unless they are mandated by Order of Court.
-     Individuals scheduled for Court are encouraged to remain outside of the building or in their vehicle until just before the scheduled time of their Court proceeding (allow time for security screening at the front door).

o   Litigants will be permitted in the facility no more than 10 minutes prior to a scheduled proceeding and counsel shall speak with their clients outside of the court facility prior to the proceeding. Witnesses will remain outside of the court facility and will be called in as needed. Reasonable accommodations for the press and for public access to proceedings will be made upon request to Court Administration.​

If you are a party to a case in the Court of Common Pleas or at an MDJ Court, you should stay in contact with your attorney; please also see our COVID-19 INFO/FAQs. 
Pro se (self-represented parties) should refer to our COVID-19 INFO/FAQs.
Other Court users can find additional information in our COVID-19 INFO/FAQs.
The Sheriff’s Department is now accepting applications for concealed carry permits via email and regular mail until further notice. For further details, please see the Sheriff’s Concealed Carry webpage (http://www.monroecountypa.gov/Dept/Sheriff/Pages/ConWeapons.aspx​).
The Prothonotary’s Office is not processing new passport requests at this time.  Please refer to the U.S. Department of State’s website (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html) for more information and resources regarding passports.
Please continue to check http://www.monroepacourts.us/ for updates.  As always, please reference the “Calendar” link on this page to see scheduled proceedings for criminal cases for the Court of Common Pleas.
COVID-19 Questions? Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258)
If you are sick, please stay home and contact your health care professional for assistance/direction.
 
Updates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can be found at
 
 Links to local health care providers:
 
      Lehigh Valley Health Network –
            https://www.lvhn.org/
 
      St. Luke’s University Health Network
            https://www.slhn.org/
 

 
 
 
Mission: The Courts of the 43rd Judicial District of Pennsylvania, as an independent branch of government, are dedicated to the administration of justice in a fair, impartial and timely manner in accordance with the rule of law and the constitutions of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Court of Common Pleas of the 43rd Judicial District is a state trial court of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania. It encompasses the County of Monroe. The Court hears civil cases with a significant amount in controversy and trials for serious crimes. The Court has original jurisdiction over all cases not exclusively assigned to another court and appellate jurisdiction over judgments from the minor courts. The Court also hears appeals from certain state and most local government agencies. The courts are established by Article V, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution: "There shall be one court of common pleas for each judicial district (a) having such divisions and consisting of such number of judges as shall be provided by law, one of whom shall be the president judge; and (b) having unlimited original jurisdiction in all cases except as may otherwise be provided by law." The Court of Common Pleas of the 43rd Judicial District has 6 judges. Judges of the Common Pleas courts are elected to 10-year terms. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district.
 
 
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 Specially scheduled JURY SELECTION and TRIALS will resume in April 2021.​ 
 
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