3rd Judicial District Chief Judge issues order on court operations during pandemic


by Bill Knowles


TRINIDAD — Third Judicial District Chief Judge Leslie Gerbracht last week issued an order concerning the operations and scheduling of the 3rd Judicial District Court rooms and trials or hearings. The order issued on March 17 follows on the heels of a Declaration of Emergency issued by both the State of Colorado and Las Animas County last week as well.

The judicial order reads … “Due to this crisis we can no longer maintain normal functions and will be operating on an emergency basis. The 3rd Judicial District will remain open at this time, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 12 noon and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. for essential functions … with a reduced staff.”

The order also calls for all jury trials scheduled for March and April to be continued — postponed until a later time. Each judge in the 3rd Judicial District will meet with the prosecuting attorney and defense counsel to either reset within the Constitutional framework of speedy trial; waive speedy trial and reset, or resolve the matter through disposition.

“If the trial cannot be resolved through one of these means and must go forward, the jurors will be staggered in order to maintain no more than 20 persons in the courtroom at a time,” the order reads.

All court hearings that are currently set through April 3, 2020 will be continued for 60 days. There are exceptions for the following which will go forward as scheduled: here is a partial list. For a complete list see covid.mark-craddock.com.

All temporary or permanent protection order hearings to include TRPO and ERPO. An ERPO is defined as: Any person who has in his or her custody or control a firearm or purchases, possesses, or receives a firearm with knowledge that he or she is prohibited from doing so by an ERPO or temporary ERPO which is a class 2 misdemeanor.

All Criminal Procedure Rule 5 advisement for incarcerated persons and the initial setting of bail. Preliminary Proceedings (a) Felony Proceedings. (1) Procedure following Arrest. … Thereafter, a felony complaint, information, or indictment shall be filed, if it has not already been filed, without unnecessary delay in the proper court and a copy thereof given to the defendant. (2) Appearance Before the Court.

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. And detention hearings for juvenile delinquency cases.

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