As a result of the global Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, on March 15, 2020, the U.S. Court for the District of Puerto Rico issued an Order Concerning Proceedings Before the United States District Court of Puerto Rico ("the original emergency Order"), continuing or suspending all civil and criminal proceedings until March 30, 2020. Given the quarantine measures taken by Puerto Rico and federal governmental agencies, and the uncertainty of how long they will remain in place, the Court issued a new Order on March 24, 2020 by which:
All civil and criminal proceedings in the District of Puerto Rico are continued until Wednesday April 15, 2020.
After April 15, 2020, the Court will operate through a virtual courtroom system. The Court has enabled a Video Tele-Conferencing ("VTC") system that will allow all judges to hold civil and criminal hearings and conferences. Attorneys will receive advanced notification of their participation in a VTC hearing or conference and will be provided instructions on how to connect to the Court's VTC system.
Criminal hearings that require the presence of defendants (i.e. Sentencing Hearings, Changes of Plea Hearings, etc.) will be held using the VTC system available at the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Detention Center and the Bayamón, Puerto Rico Penitentiary. For those hearings, counsel of record must be present in Court.
The Clerk's Office will continue to operate with essential personnel only until further notice.
The Court may issue other orders concerning future continuances as necessary and appropriate.
Notwithstanding the original emergency Order, and the March 24th Order, as of this date, all scheduled deadlines and hearing dates in the Title III cases and related adversary proceedings filed in the District of Puerto Rico under the U.S. Congressionally-imposed Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, remain in effect until further order of the Court.