Pennsylvania courts ordered closed

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HARRISBURG, Pa.-- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered all courts statewide to be closed on Thursday. Courts are closed to the public for non-essential functions through at least April 3 to restrict potential COVID-19 exposure within the courts.

The shut down includes trial, intermediate appellate courts, as well as magisterial district courts.

Both criminal and civil, are suspended and jurors do not need to report for duty on or before April 3.

The order also states that there can be no evictions or displacement from a residence for failing to pay.

In the Courts of Common Pleas, the Order deems essential functions as:

Emergency bail review and habeas corpus hearings;

Gagnon 1 hearings;

Bench warrant hearings under Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 150;

Juvenile delinquency detention;

Juvenile emergency shelter and detention hearings;

Temporary protection from abuse hearings;

Emergency petitions for child custody;

Emergency petitions for guardianship;

Civil mental health reviews (50 P.S. §302)

Any pleadings or motions relating to public health concerns and involving immediate and irreparable harm; and

Any other function deemed by a president judge to be essential consistent with constitutional requirements.

The Court has offered the following guidance to magisterial district courts with regards to essential functions:

Preliminary arraignments (bail setting) for bailable cases;

Criminal case filings and subsequent processing;

Preliminary hearings for incarcerated persons only;

Issuance of search warrants; and

Emergency protection from abuse petitions.

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