(BEDFORD) – Due to COVID-19, be advised that no party will be permitted in the courtroom of the Lawrence Superior Court II from April 3rd until at least April 30th, unless granted special permission by presiding Judge William G. Sleva.
The Court will only conduct hearings that are absolutely necessary (i.e. defendant in jail and needs an initial hearing as a matter of law, and/or any hearing likely resulting in an immediate release from incarceration.
In those cases, the defendant will not be transported to court from jail but shall appear by the court’s videoconferencing service, CourtCall.
In those cases, counsel shall notify opposing counsel and the court about the necessity of holding such a hearing by CourtCall at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing, if possible.
Only two lawyers at a time shall be permitted inside the courtroom at any given time.
Pretrial Conferences and Final PreTrial Conferences:
Attorneys should conduct all pretrial conferences and final pretrial conferences outside of court.
Following each conference, a pretrial conference form should be filled out and e-filed with the court.
Under no circumstance should a defendant appear in open court between April 3rd – April 30th.
This may extend into May depending upon the Governor’s and/or Indiana Supreme Court’s discretion.
Regarding final pretrial conferences, the attorneys should consider those to be regular pretrial conferences, and all deadlines for plea agreements shall be extended pursuant to Administrative Rule 17 as authorized by the Indiana Supreme Court.
Unless there is a substantial likelihood that a criminal defendant will be released from jail on the day of sentencing, the sentencing hearing shall be continued.
The sentencing shall be conducted via CourtCall, the Court’s videoconferencing service. Both counsel will appear in the courtroom. If a video hearing is necessary, counsel shall make arrangements with opposing counsel and advise the court at least 24 hours in advance of said hearing.
All criminal trials set in April will be or have been continued. This may extend into May depending upon the Governor’s and/or Indiana Supreme Court’s direction.
There will be no small claim hearings set in April. This may extend into May depending upon the Governor’s and/or Indiana Supreme Court’s direction.
Defendants Represented by an Attorney:
Defendants shall ensure that his or her attorney has up to date information regarding an address and phone number.
The Court will issue further directives in the upcoming days/weeks as necessary.
The public is advised that staffing is limited but the court is striving to continue to effectively and efficiently serve the public. Judge Sleva thanks to everyone for cooperating and reminds everyone to practice social distancing and stay healthy.