Santa Barbara County Superior Court officials on Wednesday ordered the closure of its clerks' offices, shutting down public access for at least one week in an effort to minimize potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Court clerks' offices in all County Superior Court locations were ordered closed from March 19 to March 27 as a measure to contain the spread of coronavirus, although some filings are still being accepted electronically and at court drop boxes, spokesman Darrel Parker said.
The clerks' offices will still accept electronic filings for civil, family and probate cases through www.sbcourts.org.
Parties representing themselves are being encouraged to e-file but can also submit filings at most court locations by using designated drop boxes.
Drop boxes are located in Santa Maria at 312 E. Cook St., in Lompoc at 115 Civic Center Plaza and in Santa Barbara at 1100 Anacapa St.
As of Friday afternoon, the Superior Court's IT division was working to provide remote public access to court filings, although details weren't immediately available, said Carrie Taylor, Parker's executive assistant.
The Santa Barbara County Public Defender on Monday has asked clients in all criminal cases to contact its office to have attorneys make appearances for them in court as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
It's the latest reduction in county court services to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a pandemic March 11.
Three cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Santa Barbara County since Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to nine, according to public health officials.
Superior Court Presiding Judge Michael Carrozzo on March 12 signed an order to close nearly all courtrooms and to reschedule all calendared cases from March 17 to April 3.
Only arraignment hearings for in-custody defendants are currently taking place.
One courtroom each in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara will remain open to address emergency orders.
Temporary restraining orders scheduled to expire between March 17 and April 15 will be extended for 30 days from their original date, court officials said.
Juvenile cases are still conducted in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, although appearances for the minor and parents in dependency matters are being waived.
Appearances for minors and parents in delinquency matters are determined on a case-by-case basis, officials said.
Jurors scheduled for the weeks of March 16 and March 23 won't be scheduled to appear and were given credit for one year.
If jurors are summoned for a future date, they can check their status online at juryservice.sbcourts.org or call toll-free 855-955-1103.
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