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April 13, 2020
Hello again OCAABA members, friends and allies:

I hope this email finds you well and healthy. The following is another update to help us do what lawyers do best: consume reliable information and convey it to others.  

JUDICIAL COUNCIL
Last Monday, the Judicial Council announced adoption of Emergency Rules. The Judicial Council has created a new page that has links to the Emergency Rules and the other Emergency Orders and Actions. https://newsroom.courts.ca.gov/news/judicial-branch-emergency-actions-criminal-civil-and-juvenile-justice

ORANGE COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
Last week, our court took immediate action to implement the Emergency Rules. There were also changes to criminal operations. Please see the following updates:
Criminal: A new "COVID-19 Request Form" was distributed and depending on the request, is to be emailed to the Court/DA. Instructions are on the form. Stakeholders are working together to avoid in-person appearances and 977 authority is being accepted. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, date settings in June/July are preferred. Download the 4/9/20 "Criminal Emergency Protocols" for detail on the latest procedures. Video appearances are being facilitated via Microsoft Teams. Instructions have been distributed: See Microsoft Teams Mobile Instructions and Microsoft Teams Video Conference Web.

Orange County Superior Court COVID-19 Operations page with direct link for Court Closure Questions: https://www.occourts.org/media-relations/CoronaVirusUpdate.html

CENTRAL DISTRICT COURT
There were no new orders posted to the Central District Website last week. Please see the following orders/notices:
Updates will be posted on the court's website: https://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/

ORANGE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION
OCBA continues to have weekly webinars on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Every Tuesday, OCBA hosts a teleconference with Affiliate Leaders. On 4/7/20, 85 leaders participated and updates were provided. Below is a summary of my notes from the call and please be advised that I did my best to take notes as quickly and accurately as I could but with information coming quickly, please feel free to double-check anything you find inconsistent. 
  • OCBA has cancelled all in-person events and has been busy adjusting services toward virtual. The COVID-19 task force was formed in matter of hours in the 2nd week of March and was one of, if not the first Bar Association in the country to form a COVID-19 task force.
  • OCBA COVID-19 task force update - webinars, website and they are trying to update the website with court information. Members were introduced and the task force is seeking to expand services.
  • OCBA Community Message Board is being implemented - Help Needed, Employment Needed, etc.
  • Affiliate leaders are asked to suggest additional webinar subjects/speakers.
  • OCBA headquarters is closed and staff is working at home. Some staff had to be let go and some hours had to be cut.
  • Community Outreach Committee: The committee is initiating two drives (1) PPE for healthcare (2) food drive working with Second Harvest Food Bank and others. Both flyers will be coming out soon. A challenge for drives is no open OCBA office location to drop off donations - the flyer will have details/instructions.
  • ProBono Committee: There is a great need for pro bono and the committee is hoping members can examine their schedules and take more cases. Legal Aid organizations are very busy - PLC, Elder Law, Veterans Law Center, etc.
  • Law Schools: CA Bar exam is still on for July but NY has postponed. Many law schools are pushing for law grads to be admitted without taking the bar - New Jersey has allowed limited licensing. Most schools have gone to pass/fail grading systems.
  • Court Update: OCBA has been communicating with the court and it has been working very hard to adjust to the pandemic while guarding constitutional rights. Best suggestion is to look for the specific court orders/press releases for departments - working to get this up on the OCBA website.
  • Criminal Law Update: No more transport from Men and Womens central jail. The virus has spread to different floors at Main. TL, IRC are still open. CJ1 alternative will be happening at IRC Mod J. This court's response to the Judicial Council new rules - bail schedule will be lowered to zero for certain offenses (No DV, serious/violent felonies/DUI's). Current jail population is 3900. Personal appearance waivers (977) are being accepted. There has been an "amazing" collaborative effort by the players (DA, PD. Prob, Sheriff, etc.) The Sheriff is concerned that the custodial staff are getting sick, cooks do not want to come in. The 3900 will be reduced this week.
  • Civil Court Update: Civil Harassment TRO's, unlawful detainer, quarantine orders, and other categories have been prioritized. Concern for the backlog and other than urgent matters, the court was waiting for the Judicial Council rules that came out 4/6/20.
  • Family Law: Only taking emergency matters (EX: DV RO or custody requests re imminent threat/death to a child). Problems RE: court not accepting filings: EX: modification of support are not being addressed, retroactivity also a concern. June 1 is target date for the court to re-open. Currently trying to set up video conference settlement conferences to alleviate backlog before re-opening.
  • Probate Court: Shut down for everything other than emergencies EX: elder abuse RO's. All hearings scheduled within next 60-days have been cancelled and temporary orders are being extended. The court is still permitting e-filings and no need for wet signatures. Ex parte decisions are being made by documents only. The Probate Court is starting to address MSC backlog.
Judge Nakamura requests court concerns go through the COVID-19 task force. You may send information, suggestions or questions for the task force to denise.esq@gmail.com and I will convey.

NAPABA and National Advocacy to PROTECT APIs
As reports of anti-Asian sentiment and violence against APIs have increased, legislation is being introduced in both the House and the Senate. OCAABA is currently voting to join a Statement of Support:

Statement of Support for Resolutions Opposing Anti-Asian Sentiment
"The undersigned Asian American and Pacific Islander bar associations support H. Res. 908, introduced by Congresswoman Grace Meng, and S. Res. [Number To Be Assigned], introduced by Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Tammy Duckworth, and Senator Mazie Hirono, titled 'Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19'. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community has been the target of increasing acts of bias, racism, and xenophobia related to the coronavirus. Our organizations stand against racism and discrimination and welcome efforts to acknowledge and address the experiences of our communities."

OCAABA will continue to monitor at the local, state and federal level to do what we can to protect APIs at home and across the county.
  • The 2020 NAPABA convention scheduled for 11/5/20 in Los Angeles remains on the NAPABA calendar. https://www.napaba.org/ and as a reminder, the deadline for Convention program submissions is 4/20/20 at 5PM EST.
  
LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LINKS
  • Federal Links:
  • Orange County - County Executive Officer Frank Kim:
Orange County local government information can be found at 
KEEPING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE

The news cycle is shifting toward "re-opening" in target regions and disparate impact of the virus in certain communities:
Orange County Health Care Agency COVID-19 Case Counts and Testing Figureshttps://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc

A reminder that the case counts are directly related to the number of individuals tested and Orange County has a population in excess of 3.19 million.  As of 4/13/20:  
 
 
  
People tested by HCA Public Health Lab (PHL) and commercial labs since yesterday
647 
Total people tested by HCA Public Health Lab (PHL) and commercial labs to date
14,175
HCA PHL available to test
1,519
specimens
 
Some things we can do  RIGHT NOW:
  • Our local pro bono needs are high and the OCBA has requested we respond.  If you can help, please email the OCBA Pro Bono committee info@ocbar.org 
  • The governor is STILL counting on social pressure to ensure his orders are followed.  Be kind, be firm.
  • As the shock wears off and the "new normal" begins to crystallize, our mental health should be considered https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/three-ways-to-protect-your-mental-health-from-covid-19/ 
  • Take care of yourselves. This week, I am looking forward to delivery of my new fitness trampoline so I can *jump* on to the at-home-fitness train.
Once again, feel free to reach out to me and I will do my best to continue to update you. 
 
We will get through this together!
 
In Unity,
Denise Crawford
2019-2020 OCAABA President