After the Mission City Council’s approval in June, the city’s municipal court reopened to the public with in-person dockets on July 7.
The only in-person dockets that resumed on July 7 were first traffic appearances, every Tuesday at 6 p.m. All other docket types will be held via phone, video or online for the time being. Below is a list of docket types and corresponding resumption dates and methods per the approved plan:
- Pro Se Plea will resume at the earliest in August via phone or Zoom. These dockets will occur the first Thursday of the month at 8 a.m.
- Attorney Plea will resume July 14 via phone, video or email every second and fourth Tuesday at 8 a.m.
- Non-traffic arraignments will resume July 16 via phone, every third Thursday at 8 a.m.
- Trial dockets will likely resume in August either in-person of via video on the second and fourth Thursday at 7 p.m.
The move to make some dockets available via phone, video or email has helped reduce the number of cases to be seen in person. This follows court staff’s “above and beyond” efforts to make procedural adjustments limiting in-person interactions during COVID-19, City Administrator Laura Smith said.
In addition to smaller dockets, Mission Municipal Court will implement a number of COVID-19 safety measures including requiring court staff and visitors to wear masks (a single-use mask will be provided to visitors who do not have one). Below is a comprehensive list of all other safety measures, as outlined in city documents:
- Hand sanitizer available upon arrival.
- Replacing laminated numbers with single-use paper numbers.
- Additional staff at the main entrance on Woodson Street will control the number of people in the lobby at one time.
- Cloth covered lobby chairs to be replaced with plastic chairs, which will be sanitized after each court date.
- Number of chairs available will vary based on social distancing and capacity guidelines.
- Both court clerks will be stationed behind protective glass.
- As usual, the prosecutor will be in the doorway more than six feet from the clerk. A plexiglass shield will hang in the doorway to allow for the transfer of papers.
Smith said the city’s primary concern is the physical limitation of the lobby. Staff will continue to explore options to ensure people are not waiting outside in the heat or potentially inclement weather as the summer months progress, she said. The Mission City Council unanimously passed the municipal court reopening plan.