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Courts, Corrections make adjustments in response to COVID-19 in Colorado

Posted: 8:05 PM, Mar 16, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-16 22:06:29-04
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COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado courts and corrections departments are making adjustments due to the presence of COVID-19 in the state.

Monday, Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan B. Coats announced that he has entered an order regarding COVID-19 and the operation of Colorado’s courts. The order suspends some court operations, specifically all jury calls in state courts, except for jury calls for criminal trials facing imminent speedy trial deadlines, and allows for the provision of other ongoing court operations.

The order also suspends jury calls through April 3, 2020, at which time the need for ongoing measures will be evaluated.

“While the timely administration of justice is the cornerstone of our judicial system, protection of public health and safety and the wellbeing of our judicial staff is of paramount importance,” Chief Justice Coats said. “We can no longer continue with normal business operations, but in the interest of all Coloradans we are also unable to cease operating entirely. Balancing those factors, I entered today’s order.”

The announcement stated the courts will otherwise remain open for matters including, Petitions for temporary civil protection orders and permanent protection order hearings, Petitions for temporary emergency risk protection orders and hearings on emergency risk protection orders, Crim.P. Rule 5 advisement for incarcerated persons and the initial setting of bail, Revocation hearings on complaints to revoke probation involving an incarcerated defendant, Proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants including bond-related matters and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals, Detention hearings for juvenile delinquency cases, Shelter hearings in dependency and neglect cases or other juvenile proceedings, Shelter hearings in dependency and neglect cases or other juvenile proceedings, Petitions for appointment of an emergency guardian and/or special conservator, Hearings on motions to restrict parenting time and parental abduction prevention, Hearings on motions to restrict parenting time and parental abduction prevention, and Emergency mental health proceedings.

Those with docketed court appearances unsure about whether to appear for a hearing, are asked to contact the clerk of court at their courthouse.

The Colorado Department of Corrections has also begun to modify operations at facilities.

According to a release from the DoC, the following changes are now in effect:

1.)Suspend all visiting in our facilities. DOC understands that this will greatly impact the inmate population, but have made the difficult decision that the risk of a visitor potentially bringing COVID-19 into a facility is something that must be prevented to the extent possible.

CDOC is currently looking at options for conducting video visits and expanding the amount of phone time allowed in order to assist offenders in staying connected to those they care about.

Legal visits will still occur but will be non-contact visits.

2.) Suspend all volunteer services at the facilities. CDOC will be looking at other recreation options to fill in gaps created by this temporary loss of volunteers.

3.) All public tours and family reunification events will be postponed.

4.) All staff will be limiting any inter-facility travel unless absolutely necessary, and will be conducting inter-facility meetings via phone or web conference whenever possible.

5.) Parolees who are sick, immune compromised, over 60, and/or considered to be at higher risk of infection (people who have traveled to areas where community transmission is occurring or had direct close contact with a presumptive positive case of COVID-19) will not be required to come into the parole office, but will still be required to maintain contact with their parole officer. Those parolees will be directly contacted by their parole officer. If a parolee is ill, they should immediately notify their parole officer via phone/CWISE or email and stay home until they contact their healthcare provider. This is a changing situation and we may update these instructions as it develops.

The DoC said these decisions will be reviewed regularly over the next 30 days.

The Fremont County Sheriff's Office also issued a release Monday in regard to the changes they are implementing.

Effective immediately:

· All on-site jail visits are being discontinued immediately until further notice. Visitation can still occur via telephone, email or letter. Phone visitation will occur during the same hours as regular visitation.

· Volunteer programs are temporarily suspended until further notice

· Fingerprinting services are temporarily suspended until further notice

· VIN inspection services are temporarily suspended until further notice

· Concealed handgun permits will be still be accepted online. Please visit https://fremontco.com/sheriff/concealed-handgun-permits. Previous appointments for photos and fingerprints will need to be rescheduled through our CHP staff. Emergency need will (domestic violence victim or other protected party) will be assessed on a case by case basis

· Calls for Service:

- CRCA Frecom will still receive all calls for service thorough their normal phone line 719-276-5555 option 8

- CRCA Frecom will assess each situation as it comes in. If you are reporting a crime that is in progress and is a risk to persons or property, a deputy will be dispatched. If it is any other incident that is not active and not posing an immediate threat, a deputy will return a phone call to the reporting party

· Public Window:

- Our public window, located within the Sheriff’s Office lobby will be open for civil papers, and records.

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Get the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Click here for the latest update on the number of cases, the age, gender and location of presumptive positive, indeterminate and confirmed cases from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

People who have general questions about coronavirus disease 2019 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 for answers in many languages. Email COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.