Welcome to the Court of Common Pleas 43rd Judicial District
(updated 6/3/2020 at 8:05 PM)
Monroe County Court - Judicial Emergency
Last Emergency Administrative Order Issued: 83 AD 2020 on 5/29/2020
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.
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, the President Judge issued Emergency Administrative Order 83 AD 2020 which extended the Judicial Emergency through September 7, 2020.
Excerpts from the latest Court’s Emergency Administrative Order (83 AD 2020) and the Transitional Protocol follow; please be sure to read the complete Order with all of its Appendices (electronic copies of ALL of the Court’s Emergency Administrative Orders are available by clicking the applicable link above):
All Courts of the 43rd Judicial District, Monroe County, including Magisterial District Courts and the Court of Common Pleas, are generally open to the public, subject to the restrictions set forth in this Court’s Transition Protocol, a copy of which is attached as Appendix A, and Administrative Orders Nos. 76 AD 2020 and 78 AD 2020, attached as Appendices B and C respectively.
In-person access to Court facilities and proceedings is specifically limited as denoted in the Transitional Protocol and Administrative Orders 76 AD 2020 and 78 AD 2020.
Any statewide or local rule that restricts, directly or indirectly, the use of advanced communication technologies in court proceedings is suspended.
Any statewide or local rules that impede court filings by means other than in person delivery are suspended.
Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 600 is suspended subject to constitutional requirements.
All Formal Arraignments and criminal Pretrial Conferences for non-incarcerated defendants are generally continued for the month of June 2020. However, the Court will entertain requests for resolution of cases scheduled for Formal Arraignment and Pretrial Conference. Counsel shall contact the presiding Judge to make arrangements.
All jury trials are suspended until September 2020 if they can be conducted, at that time, consistent with prevailing health and safety norms.
Appendices A, B and C from 83 AD 2020 are viewable
as part of the entire Emergency Administrative Order
PHASE 2 OPERATIONS
As the Court begins to transition to 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 May 31, 2020 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*:
A. GENERAL PROVISIONS
1. All persons entering any Court facility shall wear face coverings in accordance with this Court’s Emergency Administrative Order No. 76 and shall comply with all requirements therein including, but not limited to, maintaining physical distancing of at least 6 feet at all times.
2. Courthouse boxes and forms will remain at the front door and the Sheriff’s staff will continue to act as the “gatekeeper” in accordance with the emergency orders and these procedures.
3. Litigants will only be permitted in the facility 10 minutes or less 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.
4. ACT will continue to be used at all times when possible and practicable. In person appearances will continue to be limited to the matters currently being heard pursuant to the emergency orders or as ordered by the Presiding Judge.
5. Unless otherwise directed by a specific Order of Court, 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 by the Presiding Judge or Court Administration. Exhibits must be provided at the time of the proceedings in an electronic format with a copy to opposing counsel/party.
6. CCP Judges will continue on a 2 Judge rotation with staff and commencing May 8, 2020 all Judges may work in their chambers. Judges in rotation will increase as We reopen.
7. Cases that have been rescheduled to June 2020 and beyond shall be scheduled to ensure that no more than 15 persons are in any given courtroom at any time unless social distancing within the courtroom and during ingress and egress can be maintained, in the discretion of the Presiding Judge. All court proceedings shall be staggered by time. 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. Trial terms are generally cancelled through August 2020.The Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts/Orphans Court will continue to receive filings via U.S. mail and email and process same, creating motions lists, and immediately scanning and docketing each filing to insure electronic means of review and scheduling.
9. Court Administration will send all motions/pleadings to all Judges’ chambers on a daily basis.
10. Judicial Assistants will continue to create orders for electronic signature and filing by each Judge where possible.
11. Court reporters/recorders will continue to provide orders for electronic signature and filing for each Judge.
12. Court employees will not attend off-site conferences or trainings unless approved by the President Judge or her designee.
13. Court events/meetings will be held using ACT where possible.
1. PFA COURT
a. The Prothonotary will continue to provide litigants with ex parte applications and forms in the courthouse lobby and will process same on the first floor. Ex parte hearings will be held using GTM where possible.
b. Final, modification, and contempt hearings will be scheduled MWF 8:30 am and 1:00pm with no more than 5 cases in each session. Two litigants will be permitted to enter the courthouse at a time to speak with counsel. No client signatures will be required for agreements. Witnesses will wait outside unless called in to testify at hearing.
- The custody office will contact counsel and any pro se litigants a minimum of two weeks prior to scheduled conciliation conferences and arrange for the conference to be held using ACT. If no contact information is available, the case will be continued to a date after June 1st.
- All new complaints and motions/petitions in old cases must contain contact information for counsel and pro se litigants including phone number and email.
- A child(ren) will be interviewed only if counsel can assure, as an officer of the Court, that the child(ren) can speak privately with the conciliator via ACT.
Phone - (570) 517-3022
Fax – (570) 517-3875
a. Support conferences will resume May 18 via ACT only
b. The processing of complaints, scheduling of proceedings, bookkeeping, etc. will commence May 4, with reduced staffing in the courthouse.
c. Master’s hearings will begin June 22 using ACT. Documents for use at hearing must be emailed/faxed to DRO and opposing counsel/party a minimum of 7 days prior to hearing.
d. Support rules will commence in June and will be scheduled with no more than 2 cases every half hour, staggered every 15 minutes.
e. Support payments must be made using any of the methods listed at www.childsupport.state.pa.us. Payments will not be accepted in person at the Domestic Relations office.
MONROE COUNTY DOMESTIC RELATIONS SECTION
610 MONROE STREET STE 110
STROUDSBURG, PA 18360-2280
g. Paternity testing will be scheduled on a case by case basis with testing to occur no sooner than July 1, 2020.
Domestic Relations Office:
Phone (Public / IVR) - (570) 517-3845
Fax – (570) 517-3867
- Masters hearings may be scheduled using ACT as of May 11. Documents for use at the hearing must be emailed/faxed to the Master and opposing counsel/party a minimum of 7 days prior to hearing.
- Pretrial conferences will be held using ACT and documents for use at the conference must be emailed/faxed to the Master and opposing counsel/party.
Phone - (570) 517-3096
- MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE
- Conciliations may resume using ACT only. Conciliators will work with Court Administration and use the already scheduled dates and times.
- All evictions in foreclosures are stayed through July 11th.
Phone – (570) 517-3945
- TAX ASSESSMENT APPEALS
- Mediations may resume using ACT only for a first listing. The mediators will work with Court Administration and use the already scheduled dates and times. Should an in person meeting become necessary, the mediator will work with Court Administration to secure a venue where the participants can practice social distancing.
- MENTAL HEALTH ACT PROCEEDINGS
- Petitions will continue to be filed electronically.
- Hearings will be held using ACT, including witness testimony.
Masters’ recommendations will be submitted electronically to the Judge assigned for electronic signature and filing or by hand delivery to the Courthouse.
- ALL CIVIL FILINGS
- Pleadings shall be filed through the U.S. Mail or electronically. The Monroe County Prothonotary is authorized to accept filings by email, with pleadings attached as PDF documents, one pleading per email. Pleadings shall be signed and shall comply with all local and state rules and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Filing fees shall be payable to the filing office and sent by first class mail within 7 days of filing to the filing office at 610 Monroe Street, Stroudsburg, PA 18360.
- Court Administration will continue to process new pleadings, including new scheduling orders, pursuant to local rule.
- Motions lists will be provided to Court Administration by the Prothonotary’s Office and distributed to Judges for processing.
- Bench trials may commence June 8 IF social distancing can be maintained.
- Arbitrations may commence June 1 using ACT. All praecipes for arbitration must include a telephone number and email address for attorneys and pro se litigants, and Court Administration will assist the arbitrators in scheduling and using ACT.
All Other Civil (not previously specified above):
Phone – (570) 517-3096
D. ORPHANS COURT
- Pleadings shall be filed by first class mail or email. The Clerk of Orphans Court is authorized to accept all filings by email. Pleadings shall be signed and shall comply with all local and state rules and sent to email@example.com. Filing fees shall be payable to the filing office and sent by first class mail within 7 days of filing to the filing office at 610 Monroe Street, Stroudsburg, PA 18360.
- Where feasible hearings will be held using ACT.
E. JUVENILE - DELINQUENCY
- DETENTION HEARINGS
If a Juvenile is detained during the day, an in-person hearing will be held as soon as administratively possible that day. The Juvenile’s parents will be notified. If they are available, they may appear. No other person may accompany the Juvenile except upon a showing of good cause and necessity with the prior approval of the Judge. If the Juvenile’s parents or guardians cannot appear in person, then they may participate by ACT. Similarly, victims and witnesses shall be permitted to testify or participate by ACT.
- If a Juvenile is detained outside courthouse hours, then a Detention Hearing will be conducted using ACT for all victims, witnesses, attorneys, and other participants. The Juvenile shall participate from the detention center.
- If a Juvenile is released to home, then the Juvenile’s parents or guardians shall pick the Juvenile up from the Courthouse or the Detention Center, whichever applies, or make suitable other arrangements for pick up and transportation of the Juvenile.
- JUVENILE CALL
- Counsel for the Juvenile shall communicate with the Juvenile prior to the call.
- Counsel for the Juvenile and the attorney for the Commonwealth shall discuss cases prior to the call.
- Attorneys only at the call, unless the Juvenile will be making an admission or entering a consent decree.
- Admissions and Consent Decrees:
i. Counsel shall advise the Court no later than NOON two days before the call of cases in which the Juvenile will be making an admission or entering into the consent decree program.
ii. Admissions and consent decrees will be taken in person. The Juvenile and his or her parents or guardians will be given a specific time to appear. No other person may accompany the Juvenile except upon a showing of good cause and necessity with the prior approval of the Judge.
iii. Closed admissions with immediate disposition are encouraged and will be entertained. As with adult guilty pleas, counsel may ask for a conference ahead of the call for pre-approval of closed admissions.
iv. Victims shall be notified in accordance with applicable rules and laws. Victims, and if applicable their parents or guardians, may appear in court. However, they shall also be given the option of participating by ACT.
- Hearings – For cases that will be called for hearing, the Juvenile and his or her parents or guardians shall be available by phone. JPO and counsel for the Juvenile shall obtain their phone numbers. The Juvenile and his parents or guardians shall be advised of the date and time of the adjudication hearing via phone.
- ADJUDICATION HEARINGS
a. Adjudication hearings will be conducted in-person at a set date and time. The safety requirements, limitations, and procedures for all in-person proceedings conducted during the transition, including but limited to wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, bringing in witnesses as needed, and limitations of the number of persons in courtrooms, shall apply. In addition:
i. No person other than parents or guardians may accompany the Juvenile except upon a showing of good cause and necessity with the prior approval of the Judge.
ii. Witnesses will be permitted to testify by ACT in accordance with the existing COVID-19 Emergency and Court Facility Closure orders, as amended from time to time, and the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure, and after the orders terminate then in conformity with the Rules.
iii. Victims shall be notified in accordance with applicable rules and laws. Victims, and if applicable their parents or guardians, may appear in court. However, they shall also be given the option of participating by ACT.
4. DISPOSITION HEARINGS
a. Contested Disposition Hearings will be conducted in-person at a set date and time in the manner of Adjudication Hearings as set forth above.
b. Uncontested Disposition Hearings shall be conducted by ACT in the manner that Placement and Probation Review Hearings will be conducted as set forth below. Counsel shall advise the Court no later than NOON the day before the scheduled disposition if the disposition will not be contested.
c. Social Studies – When a Social Study is ordered, JPO shall, in advance of the hearing, electronically disseminate the resulting report and recommendation, together the reports of any other court-ordered evaluations, to the District Attorney and the Juvenile’s attorney of record. If another attorney will be covering, the current attorney of record will be responsible to forward the reports to the other attorney. All counsel are reminded that juvenile records are confidential, subject to protections and limitations on use by both statue and rule, may be used only.
- PLACEMENT REVIEWS
a. All placement reviews (as well as re-dispositions and placement moves for Juveniles in placement) will be conducted by ACT. All parties, parents, attorneys, and others will participate remotely.
i. GTM -- Placement Review Hearings will be held by GTM meetings. GTM invitations will be sent to the District Attorney, CYS, JPO, Court Admin/Court Reporter, the placement facility, and the Juvenile’s attorney of record. If there has been a change in representation or if another attorney will be covering the hearing, the attorney of record will be responsible for forwarding the invitation on to the new attorney/attorney who will be covering. JPO and the Juvenile’s attorney shall forward the invitation to the Juvenile’s parents/guardians and obtain phone numbers for them.
1. In instances when there is only one juvenile at a facility who will be reviewed during a single GTM session, parents/guardians may participate by GTM. If the parents/guardians do not have devices that will permit them to use GTM, they may participate by phone.
2. In instances when there is more than one juvenile at a facility who will be reviewed during a single GTM session, then each juvenile will be reviewed individually/privately during the session. To ensure privacy, parents/guardians will participate by phone rather than GTM. Each parent/guardian will be called separately as their child is being reviewed.
b. Court Reports – JPO will disseminate court reports and court summaries electronically to the attorneys of record in advance of hearings. Again, if another attorney will be covering, the current attorney of record will be responsible to forward the reports to the other attorney. All counsel are reminded that juvenile records are confidential, subject to protections and limitations on use by both statue and rule, may be used only.
c. If a Juvenile is released to home, then the Juvenile’s parents or guardians shall pick the Juvenile up from the placement facility or make suitable other arrangements for pick up and transportation of the Juvenile.
- PROBATION REVIEWS AND RELEASES
a. Uncontested requests for release from probation will be decided by the JPO motion procedure, which may be initiated by JPO or any party, without hearing.
b. All Probation Review Hearings will be conducted by ACT. All parties, parents, attorneys, and others will participate remotely.
i. For six month reviews on scheduled review days when multiple Juveniles will be reviewed, a combination of GTM and phone will be used. Each Juvenile will be reviewed individually/privately during the session. To ensure privacy, the juvenile and his or her parents/guardians will participate by phone rather than GTM. Each juvenile will be called separately as his or her case is called. To the full extent possible, separate times or time frames/ranges will be set for each Juvenile.
ii. For individual reviews scheduled by the Court or on motion of any party, GTM will be used. If the parents/guardians do not have devices that will permit them to use GTM, they may participate by phone.
iii. For GTM hearings, an invitation will be sent to the District Attorney, JPO, and the Juvenile’s attorney of record. If there has been a change in representation or if another attorney will be covering the hearing, the attorney of record will be responsible for forwarding the invitation on to the new attorney/attorney who will be covering. JPO and the Juvenile’s attorney shall forward the invitation to the Juvenile and parents/guardians and for all reviews shall obtain phone numbers for them.
- PRE AND POST-ADJUDICATION MOTIONS
a. All motions will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
b. All post-adjudication motions and post-disposition motions shall be conducted by GTM in the manner of Disposition Review Hearings as set forth above.
c. Unless specifically directed by the presiding judge, all pre-adjudication motions will be heard by GTM in the manner of Disposition Review Hearings as set forth above.
- ADDITIONAL HEARING PROCEDURES AND PROTOCOLS
a. Limited Additional In-Person Hearings – Based on the unique needs or facts of a particular Juvenile or case, the presiding judge may in his or her discretion direct that any type of hearing be conducted in-person or in-person in combination with ACT. In such circumstances, all safety requirements, limitations, and procedures for in-person proceedings conducted during the transition, plus any other conditions the presiding judge adds, shall apply.
i. For in-person hearings, exhibits shall be exchanged and admitted in the normal fashion in accordance with applicable Rules of Court
ii. For remote hearings, attorneys shall exchange exhibits prior to the hearings. If either party wants to seek admission of an exhibit, the exhibit must be sent to the presiding judge’s administrative assistant at the address set forth below, in advance of the hearing, through an e-mail marked “high priority” with a subject line stating: “EXHIBITS for Juvenile Hearing – [Insert DATE AND TIME OF HEARING]”
c. CYS Participation – For in-person hearings, one representative of CYS may appear and participate. CYS personnel shall similarly be invited to hearings conducted by GTM or other forms of ACT.
a. Non-emergency home passes will not be issued. Emergency requests will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
i. JPO placement visits will be conducted using ACT
b. All Intake, Social Study, Sign-Up Conferences, and Probation Check-In Meetings shall be conducted by ACT unless another method is specifically approved by the Chief Probation Officer. Juveniles and their parents or guardians shall provide valid e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
c. Where a juvenile is ordered to placement but a bed date is not immediately available, and the juvenile is not in detention, the juvenile will be given a date and time to report to the Courthouse to await transport by the placement facility or the Sheriff’s Department. The juvenile and parents shall wait for the transportation team outside of the building. When the transportation team arrives they, or the JPO office, will contact the juvenile and/or the juvenile’s parents via phone and instruct them to meet the transportation team in front of the Courthouse on Monroe Street.
d. If a juvenile is not physically present for disposition and the disposition does not involve placement, they will be given a specific date and time to report to Probation to comply with DNA and fingerprinting requirements (Probation will provide the Court with dates and times at the time of disposition). Probation will prepare paperwork prior to the juvenile’s arrival to limit the time spent in the Probation Office.
i. PPE will be worn by any Probation Officer taking fingerprints and DNA. Appointments will be staggered such that only one person is in the office for Act 185 registration.
Phone - (570) 517-3095
F. JUVENILE - DEPENDENCY
- EMERGENCY PROTECTIVE CUSTODY (EPC)
EPC will be taken and approved by the Court in accordance with the Juvenile Act and Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure. The Court’s established on-call EPC approval procedures will continue to be followed.
- ALL hearings, whether before the Court or the Hearing Officer, will be conducted remotely using GTM meetings.
- GTM invitations will be sent to designated CYS personnel, the CYS solicitor, the Child’s GAL (and where applicable the Child’s attorney), designated personnel in the Public Defender’s Office, any other parent/guardian attorney(s), and Court Administration/the assigned court reporter.
- As soon after the hearing and GTM meeting are scheduled as administratively possible, CYS shall: (a) provide the date and time of the hearing and the GTM invitation (or call/log-in information) to parents/guardians and foster parents; (b) confirm that the GAL/child attorney and parent attorney received the date and time and call/log-in information; (b) provide parents/guardians with contact information for their attorney, and vice versa; and (c) provide the GAL/child attorney with contact information for the foster parents and the children, and vice versa. CYS, the attorneys, and the GAL shall be responsible to provide the date, time, and call/log-in formation for the hearing to their witnesses, including caseworkers.
- Participants shall use the GTM video option whenever possible, but the audio only option may be used if no video compatible device is available. In addition, parents/guardians may participate by “regular phone” if that is the only means of participation available to them.
- CYS shall take all reasonable steps necessary to ensure that parents have access to a phone or other device that will enable them to participate in the hearing.
i. Attorneys shall exchange exhibits electronically prior to the hearing. Attorneys and GALs shall exchange with each other the e-mail addresses at which they agree to receive exhibits.
ii. If a party wants to seek admission of an exhibit during the hearing, the exhibit must be sent to the presiding judge’s administrative assistant, or the hearing officer when applicable, at the addresses set forth below, in advance of the hearing, through an e-mail marked “high priority” with a subject line stating: “EXHIBITS for Dependency Hearing – [Insert DATE AND TIME OF HEARING]”
1. For Judge Mark, to Katy Case at:
2. For Judge Williamson, to Pam Herb at:
4. For Hearing Officer Weitzmann:
- GALs/child attorneys shall speak with children prior to the hearing. Communications shall be by phone or other form of ACT. GALs/child attorneys shall confirm that the foster parents and children are aware of the date and time of the hearing and the GTM call/log-in information, and shall arrange for participation of the children, as appropriate.
h. Parent attorneys shall speak with parents/guardians prior to the hearing and shall confirm that the parents/guardians are aware of the date and time of the hearing and the GTM call/log-in information. Attorneys shall also obtain phone numbers for parents.
i. The Court will make every effort to schedule hearings so as to allow the parties and attorneys sufficient time to meet the above requirements.
*NOTE: If for legitimate reasons the GAL has not been able to speak with the children or the parent attorney has not been able to speak with the parents/guardians, then time will be allotted for such communications immediately prior to the hearing. However, it is the expectation that absent exceptional circumstances, communication will have occurred prior to the hearing.
j. Reviews – During the transition, only Six-Month permanency and placement reviews will be scheduled. Three Month Reviews will not be scheduled.
k. Judicial Discretion for In-Person Hearings – Based on the unique needs or facts of a particular child, family, or case, the presiding judge may in his or her discretion direct that any type of hearing be conducted in-person or in-person in combination with ACT. If an in-person hearing is ordered, the safety requirements, limitations, and procedures for all in-person proceedings conducted during the transition, including but limited to wearing masks, maintaining social/physical distancing, bringing in witnesses as needed, and limitations of the number of persons in courtrooms, shall apply. In addition:
i. Children and foster parents shall not appear except upon a showing of good cause and necessity with the prior approval of the Judge or Hearing Officer.
ii. Children, foster parents, and witnesses may testify or participate by ACT in accordance with the existing COVID-19 Emergency and Court Facility Closure orders, as amended from time to time, and the Rules of Juvenile Court Procedure, and after the orders terminate then in conformity with the Rules.
iii. The Judge of Hearing Officer may, in his or her discretion, set up an additional GTM meeting for the purpose of allowing the child to speak via ACT from a private setting to the Judge or Hearing Officer, with the GAL and other attorneys of record the only other participants.
iv. Only essential CYS personnel shall appear.
- All motions will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
- Move requests will be decided based on the Court’s established motion procedure for placement moves.
- As indicated, Three-Month reviews will not be scheduled as of course. However, any party may file a motion for an early review.
The current moratorium on in-person visits and conferences with children, together with the corresponding requirement that virtual visits and communication with children through ACT be permitted, shall remain until further order of Court.
- TRANSITION PROCEDURES FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS (TPR) HEARINGS
- Pre-Hearing Conferences – ALL pre-hearing conferences will be conducted by GTM.
- TPR Hearings – TPR Hearings shall be conducted in-person at a set date and time. The safety requirements, limitations, and procedures for all in-person proceedings conducted during the transition, including but not limited to wearing masks, maintaining social/physical distancing, bringing in witnesses as needed, and limitations of the number of persons in courtrooms, shall apply. In addition:
i. Children shall not appear except upon a showing of good cause and necessity with the prior approval of the presiding Judge. The parties are encouraged to discuss and agree to the use of ACT for the testimony or statements of children.
1. If a child does appear in-person with the approval or at the direction of Judge, the child shall testify or speak with the Court at the beginning of the hearing and then will be excused. Thereafter, the child may listen to or observe the remainder of the proceeding by ACT.
2. The Judge may in his or her discretion set a separate date and time to take the testimony of or otherwise hear from the child at a proceeding at which only the Judge, the GAL, and the attorneys of record are present.
3. If the child does not appear but wishes to listen to or observe the hearing, arrangements for use of ACT for that purpose will be made. The GAL or child attorney shall advise the Court of such request at least three days prior to the hearing.
c. Only essential CYS personnel shall appear.
1. Formal arraignments will be waived at the preliminary hearing on a form to be provided at the MDJ office. A date of arraignment (8 weeks from the date of preliminary hearing) for purposes of the timelines under the criminal rules and for the filing of the criminal information will be contained in the waiver, together with a date for appearance for ARD, Guilty Plea or with the month the case is generally set for trial, whichever applies.
2. ARD and Plea hearings will be conducted in person for those not in custody in a manner to comply with social distancing requirements. Sign up information will be given in writing at the time of the ARD/Plea hearing to counsel or to the Defendant by the Probation Department.
3. Pre-trial conferences will no longer be automatically scheduled, but will instead be scheduled, if necessary, by each assigned judge upon motion of either party. Conferences may be held using ACT or in person and on the record, but without the defendant’s presence.
4. Any party whose case has been generally listed for trial and who wishes to move their case forward with a plea or other disposition, shall file a motion for same to be scheduled by the individual judge.
5. A minimum of 30 days prior to the trial term for which a case is listed, any party requesting trial shall file a motion which shall include the number of days necessary and any other special requirements for consideration by the Court and a certification that all pretrial criminal rules requirements have been met and that the opposing party has been notified and concurs or does not concur in the listing. If the opposing party concurs, the assigned Judge will schedule a date certain for trial and may upon request of either party or on the Judge’s own motion schedule a pretrial conference. If the opposing party does not concur, the Judge will schedule a pretrial conference and, if a trial is ordered, a date certain for the trial.
6. Non-emergency motions for trial term continuances must be filed at least 30 days prior to the term for which the case is listed.
7. Any cases generally listed for a monthly trial term that have not been disposed of or for which counsel have not filed a motion as described in paragraph 5 above will be listed for trial at a date and time determined by the Court.
8. Jury trials may be held commencing September 2020 in accordance with the parameters set by this Court and Jury Management. Cases currently listed on Final Call dates through the remainder of 2020 will be continued to dates selected by the assigned judge for disposition or trial in accordance with the procedures contained in this document. No further final call days will be scheduled.
9. Defendants in custody will appear in person only for trials. ALL hearings involving incarcerated Defendants will be conducted using ACT unless specifically ordered by the presiding judge.
10. Grand Jury proceedings are cancelled and the Grand Jury dismissed.
11. Adult probation officers will have no in person contact with Defendants unless specifically authorized by the Chief Probation Officer. This includes, but is not limited to, sign-up, PSI interviews and reporting. All group sign-ups will be modified to comply with the terms of this document.
12. If a defendant is not physically present for sentencing and the sentence does not involve incarceration, they will be given a specific date and time to report to Probation to comply with DNA and fingerprinting requirements (Probation will provide the Court with dates and times at the time of sentencing). Probation will prepare paperwork prior to the defendant’s arrival to limit the time spent in the Probation office. PPE will be worn by any Probation Officer taking fingerprints and DNA. Appointments will be staggered such that only one person is in the office for Act 185 registration.
13. ACT will be used in all areas of Probation including Court appearances, if feasible, in accordance with the terms of this document.
Phone - (570) 517-3098
H. Magisterial District Courts
- Public Access
- The Magisterial District Courts within the 43rd Judicial District shall be open generally to conduct all court business effective June 1, 2020. ALL IN-PERSON ACCESS IS STRICTLY LIMITED until June 15, 2020.
- All payments for fines and costs shall be made by mail or online at www.ujsportal.pacourts.us.NO IN-PERSON PAYMENTS ARE PERMITTED absent extenuating circumstances.
- All MDJ office telephones remain forwarded to Court Administration until 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.
- Preliminary Arraignments
- All preliminary arraignments shall be conducted using Advanced Communication Technology (ACT) between the Magisterial District Court and the Monroe County Central Booking Department located at the Monroe County Correctional Facility. No in-person preliminary arraignments shall be held at any Magisterial District court until further notice.
- Scheduling Events
- All proceedings of incarcerated defendants shall be held using Advanced Communication Technology (ACT).
- No hearings/proceedings in any case type shall be scheduled or rescheduled to a date prior to June 15, 2020, giving priority to rescheduling of criminal cases.
- No more than 5 cases total, of any case type, shall be scheduled or rescheduled in an hour and shall be scheduled in a staggered fashion.
- No person other than the litigants and counsel for any scheduled events are permitted to enter the Magisterial District Court. The MDJ Court will insure that litigants and counsel are called into the building one case at a time.
- The appearance of witnesses and affiants on the first listing of a preliminary hearing is waived. Should an evidentiary hearing be necessary, the MDJ shall schedule same for a date and time certain.
- All DUIs previously scheduled from March 19th through May 31st shall be rescheduled at Magisterial District Court 43-3-02 located at 1211 N 5th Street, Stroudsburg, Pa. and will be heard by a Senior Magisterial District Judge on dates to be determined, pursuant to this Court’s authority delineated above and Pennsylvania Rule of Judicial Administration 605(B)(6).
i. Criminal cases resulting in a waiver or where all charges are bound over to the Court of Common Pleas shall have a Waiver of Formal Arraignment form completed by the defendant and counsel on a form provided to the MDJ court by Court Administration. The completed form shall be scanned and submitted with the docket entries and a copy provided to Court Administration.
- At this time, all correspondence necessary for cases filed at the MDJ courts can be mailed using the US Mail or faxed to the individual court office at the applicable address / fax number as listed on the Monroe County Court’s website (www.monroepacourts.us).
i. Correspondence includes but is not limited to entries of appearance, pleas in summary cases, etc.
- New Civil Case Filings
- All new civil case filings can be mailed using the US Mail to the specific MDJ court directly or filed in person commencing June 1, 2020 at the specific MDJ court.
- Contact Information
- Individual MDJ Court contact information can be found at: www.monroepacourts.us
i. Please note that the MDJ Court telephones are being forwarded to Court Administration until May 26, 2020.
*Please note that these procedures may be modified on a regular basis as the safety parameters and pandemic evolve. Not all processes will be ready for implementation on May 1st and will be on a rolling basis as noted specifically herein.
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.
To that end:
- All persons in all Court facilities shall maintain, at all times, the appropriate social 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 directed to quarantine, isolate or self-monitor at home for the coronavirus 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 at the door; and/or
• is not wearing a facial covering in accordance with 76 AD 2020, which covers the nose and mouth, excepting persons unable to wear same because of a medical condition and children under the age of two (2).
Face coverings shall be worn at all times in all public spaces, including courtrooms, corridors, elevators, stairways, and entranceways, and all Court offices (except when an employee is at his or her own work station).
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).
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.
All Sheriff Sales scheduled for March 26, 2020 through June 25, 2020 have been continued. For further details regarding the Sheriff Sales, please see Emergency Administrative Orders 79 AD 2020 (Real Estate) and 80 AD 2020 (Personal Property).
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).
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 –
St. Luke’s University Health Network