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  • WisBar News
    April 16, 2020

    Supreme Court Extends Order on Remote Hearings, Clarifies Order for Juvenile Cases

    WI Supreme Court

    April 16, 2020 – All in-person proceedings in appellate and circuit courts are suspended until further notice under a recent Wisconsin Supreme Court order, which also clarifies that judges may waive in-person requirements otherwise required in juvenile matters.

    Amidst the public health emergency, the Supreme Court issued a March 22 Order suspending all in-person proceedings (with some exceptions) in circuit and appellate courts until April 30 and requiring hearings to be conducted remotely.

    “All judges, court commissioners and court clerks are required to utilize available technologies – including e-mail, teleconferencing, and video conferencing in lieu of in-person courtroom appearances,” the order states.

    As noted in the April 15 InsideTrack, all circuit court branches are currently capable of conducting proceedings through Zoom videoconferencing.

    Yesterday (April 15), the court (6-1) extended the suspension of in-person proceedings “until further notice” by amending the previous order (see amended order here). Justice Rebecca Bradley dissented, arguing the April 30 end-date should still apply.

    Juvenile Proceedings

    The March 22 Order noted exceptions to the suspension of in-person proceedings if remote technology is not practicable or adequate to address the matter.

    That is, in-person proceedings may be conducted “if necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and juveniles.”

    The April 15 Order clarifies that judges may waive in-person appearance requirements otherwise required by statute. “As such, juveniles intending to admit to the facts of a delinquency petition may do so by teleconference or video conference after waiving their right to personally appear before the court,” the order states.

    “Practitioners are reminded that certain hearings under Chapters 48 and 938 (e.g., temporary physical custody hearings and emergency in-home to out-of-home change in placement hearings) still need to be held timely under federal law and federal Title IV-E funding requirements.”

    Full April 15 Order.

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