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State court to end emergency order

Proceedings were restricted in wake of COVID-19

The Pennsylvania Su­preme Court, as of Monday, will end its statewide judicial emergency order issued in mid-March that restricted court proceedings in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an order issued Wed­nesday, the state court acknowledged that its relevant orders are to cease beginning on Monday.

As for emergency orders and relevant directives rendered by other courts, they are to remain in place until their expiration date, which in Blair County coincides with the lifting of the statewide judicial order, or until the order is rescinded.

In addition, the high court’s order allows the extension or declaration of local judicial emergencies, subject to state and federal constitutional requirements, allowing the president judges to:

– Limit in-person access and proceedings to safeguard the health and safety of court personnel, court users and members of the public.

– Suspend statewide rules that restrict, directly or indirectly, the use of advanced communication technologies.

– Suspend statewide rules that impede local provision for court filings by means other than in-person delivery.

– Suspend statewide rules pertaining to the rule-based right of criminal defendants to a prompt trial.

– Suspend jury trials until they can be conducted consistent with prevailing health and safety norms.

The Supreme Court’s order also states that its earlier order, authorizing and encouraging use of advanced communication technology, applies only to areas of the state in the most restrictive “red” phase of coronavirus-related rules.

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