Since the closing of the Washoe County Second Judicial District Court courtroom facilities on March 16, 2020, due to the national, statewide, and local declarations of emergency, the justice system has remained open to conduct virtual hearings and proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Second Judicial District Court remains fully staffed to handle court services and conduct business on proceedings, while protecting the health and safety of court patrons and staff.
“The Court is still moving forward, and just like everyone else, we are adjusting and enhancing our procedures and protocols during this pandemic to handle caseloads,” said Judge Scott Freeman, Chief Judge, Second Judicial District Court. “Judges, attorneys, plaintiffs, and defendants involved in any of our departments are still participating in court hearings, but virtually during this time.”
The Second Judicial District Court continues to hold court hearings remotely via Zoom video conferencing. All public proceedings may be observed via a link posted on the Second Judicial Court’s homepage. In-custody criminal calendars are heard Monday-Thursday mornings. Special settings may occur at other times. Out-of-custody criminal calendars are heard on Monday-Thursday at 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
“At the moment, jury trials are suspended,” said Judge Freeman. “We cannot guarantee the safety of jurors, witnesses, attorneys, and litigants for an in-person jury trial given the number of people who are in a courtroom.”
Judge Bridget Robb, Presiding Judge of the Family Division, explains, “the Family Division quickly pivoted to a remote operation. We are holding hearings, issuing orders, and processing cases. Our goal is to serve the needs of families while keeping them, the public, and Court staff healthy.”
For instance, there are several ways to file an application for a Temporary and/or an Extended Protection Order. The court has application packets and other related forms located in the Family Division lobby at 1 S. Sierra Street. A drop box is also provided for completed applications and other filings to be submitted. Staff are checking the box regularly, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
A person may also apply online anytime with an eFlex account. Assistance in creating an eFlex account or with electronic filing is available via chat on the Court’s homepage or by calling the Resource Center at 775-325-6731.
Due to COVID-19 and Administrative Order 2020-02 and 2020-05, if a person has a scheduled hearing for an extension of a protection order, that hearing will be conducted by telephone or video. Litigants must contact the courtroom clerk at 775-325-6626 or 775-328-3273 at least 24 hours prior to the hearing to provide contact information where he or she can be reached for the hearing.
For issues involving neighbors or co-workers, a stalking or harassment order is appropriate. Stalking and harassment orders are issued by the Justice Court, and forms can be found at 1 S. Sierra Street. Instructions and complete information can be found on the Second Judicial Court’s website.
Other services to note are as follows:
- Adult Guardianships – If you are filing a petition to establish adult guardianship, please email the citation to [email protected]. Court staff will electronically file the citation upon confirming a hearing date without the need for manually stamping the document. If you are exempt from electronic filing, please call 775-328-3135 to set a hearing date.
- Certified Documents – The District Court is providing electronic certification of court documents. To request a certified copy, you may: 1) Mail your request to: 75 Court Street, Reno, NV 89501 or 2) Submit a written request and place it in the drop box located in the lobby at 1 S. Sierra Street, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Please check the filing fee schedule for applicable certification and copy fees.
- Filing Documents – The Court continues to accept filings in all case types, including the filing of new cases. All filings can be submitted electronically through eFlex. If you do not have an eFlex account, instructions on how to create an account can be found here or documents may be dropped off in the drop box located in the 1 S. Sierra Street lobby.
- Lawyer in the Library – The program continues virtually, and requires participants to use either a computer or phone to attend. Participants have a 15-minute session with an attorney. The Family Law program will be held on Tuesdays between 1:00-5:00 p.m. The General Law & Probate Law programs will be held on Wednesdays between 1:00-5:00 p.m, with a limited number of participants for each program. Appointment requests will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. Once the program fills up for that day, sign-ups will no longer be accepted for that day. For sign-ups, visit the Second Judicial Court’s website.
- Summons – Summons may now be submitted through the Court’s electronic filing system, eFlex. Once it is submitted, the summons will be issued electronically. If you do not have an eFlex account, you may mail your summons to 75 Court Street, Reno, NV 89501 or 2) place it in the drop box at 1 S. Sierra St. For assistance with electronic filing, you may email [email protected], via chat on the Court’s homepage or by calling the Resource Center at 775-325-6731.
- Family Peace Center – The Family Peace Center has temporarily suspended all visitations due to the inability to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Contact Kendra Materasso, Family Services Case Manager, at 775-328-3854 or [email protected] for more information.
- Family Services Mediation – If you are court ordered to appear for mediation to address a custody or visitation issue, all mediations will be by phone or video conference. Questions may be directed to Family Services at 775-328-3298 or [email protected].
- Specialty Courts – Specialty Courts continue to operate remotely. The eight criminal specialty courts are holding weekly Zoom staffings and one weekly hearing for in-custody proceedings. Specialty Court coordinators are conducting telephonic check-ins with participants. Drug testing at Sober 24 continues. Clinical evaluations and individual counseling sessions are being conducted virtually. Parole and Probation continues conducting field supervision and house visits, with limited in-person contact.
“Although the dynamic of the court process has changed, justice is unequivocally being served in our system,” said Freeman. “We continue to work on our plans to reopen and the timing of that. We look forward to when we can meet and interact in-person.”
For complete information on each division or program of the Washoe County Second Judicial District Court during COVID-19, please visit: washoecourts.com/main/covid19response.
About the Washoe County Second Judicial District Court:
The Second Judicial District Court was established in 1910. The mission of the Second Judicial District Court is to provide timely, fair and efficient administration of justice under the law, in a manner that instills and sustains the public’s confidence in the judicial system. The Family Division of the Second Judicial District court was established in 1990. The mission of the Second Judicial District Court’s Family Division is to provide fair, efficient, accessible justice under the law, which encourages alternative and non-adversarial dispute resolution, in a manner that serves the public and sustains confidence in the judicial branch of government. To learn more, please visit the Washoe County Second Judicial District Court’s website at www.washoecourts.com.
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