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Welcome to the Court of Common Pleas 43rd Judicial District

 

 
  
(updated 07/09/2020 at 5:28 PM)
Monroe County Court - Judicial Emergency
Last Emergency Administrative Order Issued: 86 AD 2020 on 07/09/2020
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 and provided a transitional protocol document (incorporated into the Order as Appendix A).
 
Excerpts from the latest Court’s Emergency Administrative Order (83 AD 2020) and the transitional protocols 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.
 
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
 
 
Appendices A, B and C from 83 AD 2020 are viewable
as part of the entire Emergency Administrative Order
 
 
 
            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.
 
The following links will take you to the applicable section of the Court’s Phase 2 Operations - Transition 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 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 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 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. 
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.
All Sheriff Sales scheduled for March 26, 2020 through June 25, 2020 were continued. For further details regarding the Sheriff Sales, please see Emergency Administrative Orders 79 AD 2020 (Real Estate) and 80 AD 2020 (Personal Property).  On 7/9/2020, all Real Estate Sheriff Sales previously scheduled for July 30, 2020 and August 27, 2020 were continued to September 24, 2020 and October 29, 2020 respectively (please see 86 AD 2020 for further details).
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.
 
 
News / Updates
  
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Upcoming Calendar Events
  
  
Jury Selection on August 4, 2020
Jury Selection on September 1, 2020
Jury Selection on October 6, 2020
Facility Dog