The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California announced that any new criminal jury trials set to begin before June 30 and new civil jury trials set before Sept. 30 will be postponed or vacated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Individual judges, however, may offer bench trials by videoconference under a newly amended general order.

“Through September 30, 2020, all civil matters will be decided on the papers, or if the assigned judge believes a hearing is necessary, the hearing will be by telephone or videoconference,” wrote U.S. District Chief Judge Phyllis Hamilton in an amended general order posted to the court’s website Thursday morning. “This applies to motion hearings, case management conferences, pretrial conferences, settlement conferences, Alternative Dispute Resolution (‘ADR’) proceedings, and bench trials,” she wrote.

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