Associate Criminal has revamped its docketing structure and approach to account for the post corona reality where social distancing and large crowds are no longer acceptable norms.  We are operating with the following understanding:

  1. Jurors will be in high demand and short supply. There will likely be no jurors available in June and July 2020 and it will be difficult to get jurors thereafter.
  2. There may be difficulty in convening a grand jury.
  3. We will continue to operate using interactive video technology and in person hearings will be the exception, not the rule.
  4. Everyone, attorneys included, should avoid unnecessary trips to the courthouse and paper filings.
  5. Confined cases are prioritized. Cases should be prioritized based upon the seriousness of the offense and age of the case.
  6. Social distancing and safety standards must be maintained at all times.
  7. Masking will be required.
  8. Entry to the Courthouse may be restricted and/or limited to one check point.

Due to the social distancing restrictions and our small courtrooms, our docket structure will change drastically. We will have to think of our dockets in new and different ways and embrace technology.  We will have a staggered approach to our dockets and to our implementation of a new docket structure.  The use of interactive video technology will be the default until notified otherwise. For everyone’s safety, in-person proceedings will only occur when absolutely necessary and when approved by the court.  As much as we would like to see you, we ask that you only visit the courthouse in person when absolutely necessary.

Please also understand that this is a fluid and unpredictable situation and we will all need to be flexible.  Things will continue to evolve and change as needed and in accordance with the circumstances.

WARRANT RECALLS and CONSENT BOND MEMOS

Due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the reduced staff and limited access to the building, Consent Bond Memos and Warrant Recalls may be e-filed. Please bear in mind prior to the pandemic the e-filing policy required that all pleadings be e-filed at least three business days prior to the docket for processing.  There may be further delays in processing e-filed documents due to reduced staffing and increased backlog. Therefore, if time is of the essence, after the document is e-filed contact the Associate Criminal/Traffic Clerk during normal business hours at 314-615-2675 or 314-615-4795. If it the office is closed, please contact the Duty Judge. Ultimately, is the attorney’s responsibility to follow-up and ensure that the paperwork is presented to a judge. If the attorney does not follow the procedure outlined above then the Consent Bond Memo or Warrant Recall will be treated as any other pleading and will not be expedited but routed through the normal queue.  NOTE:  Non-traffic Warrant Recalls and Consent Bond Memos must be signed by a prosecuting attorney or include a confirmation from the prosecuting attorney that he or she consents to the recall.

Video Hearings:  Zoom, Forms, Online Scheduling, Witnesses, Exhibits

All hearings will be conducted by Interactive Video Technology until further notice.  In person hearings will be the exception and require a Court order.  Although we were informed that we need to use WebEx, due to certain limitations in WebEx, we will continue to use Zoom until further notice.

You can set up a free account on both WebEx and Zoom. Please go to www.zoom.us or download the app on your phone to set up your free account. Please make sure your name appears on your account so you can be easily identified when you join a Zoom hearing.  Once connected, you will be placed in a waiting room until the Court is ready for your setting.  Please utilize the chat feature to notify the Court which hearing you are attending. Once admitted, please keep your microphone on mute unless you are speaking. If you are late, the hearing may be rescheduled.

NEW NOTICE OF HEARING FORM: A new Notice of Hearing by Interactive Video form has been created and will serve as both a Notice of Hearing and the former Zoom Information Sheet for the attorney setting the hearing.  Each division will have standing Meeting IDs established for certain types of settings and those Meeting IDs will be available on the Division’s webpage in a password protected document and in the Acuity setting instructions.  The password will be made available to the local bar associations and will be available upon request by email or phone call.  The Meeting IDs are subject to change at random intervals and if changed after a matter is noticed the parties will be advised of the new Meeting ID.

The Meeting IDs for the additional preliminary hearing dockets in June will be assigned in early June.  Therefore, the Meeting IDs for those dockets will not be required at the time of filing the Notice of Hearing by Interactive Video Technology until that information is made available.

Our forms are available on the St. Louis County Circuit Court website: www.wp.stlcountycourts.com.  If there are any forms that are not on the website that would be useful to the attorneys, please let the court know so they can be made available.

ZOOM INFORMATION SHEET:  Any attorney who is appearing on a matter that is already set, or is being set by another attorney, must e-file a completed Zoom Information Sheet at least three (3) business days prior to the setting.  This is to ensure that we know to look for you in the waiting room and that you are admitted for the hearing. Often an Entry of Appearance will not get processed before the setting so if you enter your appearance or e-file your Zoom Information sheet less than three (3) business days prior to the setting, please also email a copy of the Zoom Information Sheet to the Division Clerk so we are aware of your appearance.  Otherwise, the hearing may be inadvertently conducted without you or rescheduled. This is especially important with mandatory bond reviews given the short turnaround time on these settings.

For mandatory bond reviews, it will be assumed that there are no witnesses or attendees and the and Public Defender assigned to the docket is covering the hearings unless the Division Clerk is notified otherwise.  Prosecuting Attorneys and Public Defenders must complete a Zoom Information Sheet for settings other than a mandatory bond reviews but Prosecuting Attorneys and Public Defenders need not include their personal cell phone numbers. If a Public Defender enters or intends to enter on a mandatory bond review, please just email the Division Clerk so we can make note that the defendant will be represented at the hearing (no Zoom Information Sheet is required).

WITNESSES AND ATTENDEES:  Attorneys will need to email the division a list of all witnesses and attendees for any hearing at least three (3) business days prior to the setting so that we may ensure that the appropriate individuals are allowed into the hearing at the appropriate time. This is especially important if the rule to exclude witnesses is invoked.  It is the attorney’s responsibility to provide any witnesses or attendees with the appropriate telephone/video connection information and to make arrangements for their witnesses or attendees to connect either by phone or video.

ONLINE SCHEDULING: To set a matter via Acuity both the Defense Attorney and the Prosecuting Attorney must agree on the date. If a request is made to set a matter for preliminary hearing and no response is received from the opposing party within 48 business hours, the failure to respond will be deemed a consent and the requesting party may set the matter for the date/time requested. Documentation of requests and consents to dates is strongly encouraged. If the Attorney is firmly convinced that the matter will take longer than the time allotted in Acuity, the Attorney may reserve more than one time slot but MUST state in a separate memo the basis for the attorney’s good faith belief that additional time is necessary.  Failure to do so may result in the additional time slot being cancelled.  It is the attorney setting the matter’s responsibility to ensure that the correct Meeting ID information is added into the Notice of Hearing form.  Notices missing the Meeting ID information or with incorrect Meeting ID information will be denied.

The following matters may be set online using Acuity:  Preliminary Hearings, Confined Bond Reviews, Non-Confined Bond Related Motions, Pleas, Special Settings (includes Pretrials, Motions-except those related to bonds, and miscellaneous matters as designated by the Judge).  You must file your Notice of Hearing by Interactive Video form within 24 hours of setting your matter in Acuity or your setting will be cancelled.

EXHIBITS: At least three (3) business days prior to the hearing, any exhibits the parties think they may admit may be emailed to the division provided that opposing counsel is also on the same email. Alternatively, the attorneys may e-file their exhibits or exchange them during the hearing through file sharing and display the exhibits to the witnesses using screen sharing.  It is the attorney’s responsibility to establish the most convenient method for the sharing of exhibits with one another, the witnesses and the Court.

REQUESTS FOR IN-PERSON HEARINGS: Pursuant to Administrative Order 19, in-person hearings may only be held in “limited and extreme circumstances only and based on a determination that alternative methods for conducting said hearings cannot occur.”  Administrative Order 19 sets forth the only matters that are eligible for an in-person hearing, including initial appearances and mandatory bond reviews (those set after an initial appearance) at this time.

In the event you believe that you will be prejudiced by a hearing by Interactive Video Technology, you must first contact opposing counsel to determine if a continuance is appropriate and if both parties consent to a continuance.  If not, you must immediately file a Motion for In-Person Hearing (no later than four (4) business days in advance of the setting) and state facts to support why there is no reasonable alternative to an in-person hearing and why a telephone or video conference is not sufficient. The Motion must state the names of the requesting party’s essential attendees.  You must email a copy of the Motion to the Division Clerk and opposing council upon filing.  Opposing counsel must file a consent or objection within (2) business days of the filing of the Motion and include a list of his/her essential attendees. A copy of opposing counsel’s pleading must be emailed to the Division Clerk and opposing Counsel upon filing. Whether to allow an in-person hearing or in-person attendance shall be determined by the judge presiding over the hearing.  An Order will be entered in the Court fileIf granted, a copy of the Order may be required to gain entry to the building. Please note, due to limited staffing, e-filing alone is NOT sufficient.  You must also email your pleadings to the Division Clerk.

Contacting the Associate Criminal Divisions

The divisions may be contacted by phone or through an email address that is accessible to the division from anywhere.  Therefore, in the event of an emergency, the divisions will still be able to communicate with attorneys regarding settings etc.

Division 40:  (314) 615-1540   stlcountydiv40@gmail.com
Division 43:  (314) 615-1543   stlcountydiv43@gmail.com

Confined Dockets and Confined Bond Reviews

All confined dockets, extraditions and CONFINED bond reviews will be conducted by interactive video technology. Confined dockets and extraditions will be at 9:30 a.m. and remain unpredictable.  CONFINED bond reviews will remain at 10:00 a.m. and their size will vary as it depends on the number of arrests and the number of defendants that remain in custody after their initial or confined appearance.

Divisions 40 and 43 will continue to alternate coverage of the confined dockets and their respective bond review days with the exception that both divisions will have bond reviews for NONCONFINED defendants on Fridays, when possible.  This docket will include all bond related motions for nonconfined defendants (reviews, modifications, and revocations) as well as any show cause hearings set by the Court. For example, in the first week of June, Division 40 will cover the confined and conduct Division 40’s confined bond reviews on M-W and Division 43 will cover the confined T-TH and conduct Division 43’s confined bond reviews on T-TH.  The next week they will swap. NOTE:  ONLY CONFINED BOND REVIEWS will be heard at 10:00 a.m on the designated confined bond review dockets.  Please pay attention to the day of the week to ensure that you are setting your confined bond review on the right day.  Hearings noticed on the wrong day or for non-confined defendants on the 10 a.m. confined bond review docket will not be set. All non-related bond motions should be set by special setting per each division’s procedures.

If the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Public Defenders’ Office intend to continue rotating coverage of the confined docket and the confined bond review docket, we ask that they notify each division, and each other, in advance, of who will be covering those dockets or, in the alternative, establish a procedure for a single contact source for last minute issues that arise the morning of the docket.

Local Rules and Notice Requirements

Please revisit the local rules and notice requirements.  After a bond review has been conducted, a written motion is required for a subsequent bond review.  All matters must be set with adequate notice per Rule 20.01 (5 business days excluding weekends and holidays and the day you e-file/send the notice). Failure to abide by any of the rules or procedures will result in denials of setting requests.  We have to be very careful in controlling our schedules so that our video hearings are conducted timely and our crowd size is controlled. It is more important than ever that we avoid shortcuts that make it more difficult for us to protect everyone’s health and safety.

Non-Confined Bond Related Motions

All bond related motions for defendants who are not confined must be set on the non-confined bond related motion docket which will be held on available Fridays at 10 a.m.  Requests for settings of any motions other than Confined Bond Reviews during the 10 a.m. Confined Bond Review Docket will be denied.

Preliminary Hearings

The focus of June 2020 will be conducting as many preliminary hearings as possible.  Preliminary hearings will be held every 20 minutes beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Divisions 40 and 43 up to 4 days a week.  Two additional divisions will hear preliminary hearings Monday through Thursday every 20 minutes beginning at 2:00 p.m. One additional division will hear two preliminary hearings hourly Monday through Thursday.  The longer preliminary hearings are meant to be for the more involved and sensitive cases that would normally go to grand jury or may necessitate in person proceedings.  Preliminary hearings will begin the week of June 15th.

Here are the judges who will be covering the additional PH dockets in June:

In July 2020, Divisions 40 and 43 will be the only divisions hearing preliminary hearings and the schedule will be reduced.  The hearings will be every 20 minutes beginning at 2:00 p.m. Under this schedule, we will be able to hear 160 preliminary hearings in July.

In August 2020, the jury trial weeks have been added back into the calendar and the preliminary hearings are otherwise continued on a similar schedule to July 2020.  Under this schedule, we will be able to hear 128 preliminary hearings in August.

Beginning September 2020, the number of preliminary hearings per month will be reduced to accommodate for the addition of the traffic dockets.  We have allotted for between 30-70 preliminary hearings a month.  Bear in mind that prior to the pandemic, maybe 10 preliminary hearings (at most) were heard in a month.

If the Attorney is firmly convinced that the matter will take longer than the 20 minutes allotted in Acuity, the Attorney may reserve more than one time slot but MUST concisely state in a separate memo the basis for the attorney’s good faith belief that additional time is necessary.  Failure to do so may result in the additional time slot being cancelled.

Preliminary hearings will be set using Acuity.  A Notice of Hearing using the NEW Notice of Hearing by Interactive Video Form must be e-filed within 24 hours of setting your preliminary hearing in Acuity or your setting will be cancelled.

If a matter is set for preliminary hearing it should be assumed that the matter will be heard at that setting and only rarely, due to exceptional circumstances, will a preliminary hearing be continued.  If the parties think that witness cooperation may be unlikely, each division will have a monthly 1:30 p.m. dismissal docket one afternoon before the 2:00 p.m. preliminary hearings to determine if the matter will proceed to hearing. Matters set on this docket will not be heard and will be subject to a DFTP if witnesses are not available or warrant if defendant does not make contact with defense counsel.  If witnesses are available and/or defendant has reestablished contact, the matter will be reset for a definitive hearing date.

Docket entries will be entered in every case with a preliminary hearing set indicating that the hearing will not occur and that the attorneys must obtain a new setting using Acuity by a certain date and should anticipate that the preliminary hearing will be heard at the date and time selected. The matter must be reset within 48 hours after the initial preliminary hearing setting or setting deadline.

When setting a preliminary hearing, absent consent by the Prosecuting Attorney, preliminary hearings should be at least four (4) weeks in advance.   To set a matter for preliminary hearing both the Defendant and the PA must agree on the date. If a request is made to set a matter for preliminary hearing and no response is received from the opposing party within 48 business hours, the failure to respond will be deemed a consent and the requesting party may set the preliminary hearing for the date/time requested. Documentation of requests and consents to dates is strongly encouraged.

Arraignments

The Preliminary Hearing Waiver form now includes an Arraignment Memorandum so both preliminary hearing and Arraignment can be waived (or arraignment set) at the same time on the same form. This form will be available online.  If a matter is bound over from preliminary hearing, the Preliminary Hearing Judgment includes the same Arraignment Memorandum and arraignment may be waived or set at that time.  The Preliminary Hearing Judgment form will be available online and if the defendant wishes to waive arraignment, the Preliminary Hearing Judgment form may be executed in advance and e-filed as a “proposed order” and used by the Judge during the preliminary hearing. If not signed in advance, the Defendant may sign page 2 of the Preliminary Hearing Judgment titled “Arraignment Memorandum after Preliminary Hearing” and file it separately.  The Arraignment Memorandum after Grand Jury Indictment form will also be available online for Grand Jury Indictments.  A current Administrative Order permits the associate circuit criminal judges to sign arraignments but this rule needs to be amended so that any associate circuit judge (including a duty judge presiding over the 48-hour docket) can sign arraignments.

The Prosecuting Attorney should have the Information prepared and ready to file at the preliminary hearing.  If it is not filed at the preliminary hearing, the Prosecuting Attorney will have seven (7) days to file the Information.  If the Information is not filed within seven (7) days of the Arraignment Memorandum, the case will be put on the dismissal docket, which will be the last day of each month.  Any waiver filed in a given month will be placed on the next month’s dismissal docket.  If the Information is not filed by the dismissal docket date then the matter will be summarily dismissed for failure to prosecute.  A form dismissal order will be prepared for the Presiding Judge for cases on this docket so that the DFTP can be entered promptly.  If the Information is filed, Wendy will prepare a direct assignment order from the prepared order from the Presiding Judge that assigns a case to the appropriate division.

For Indictments, Captain Jett will keep DOC inmates for a week to complete any necessary paperwork.  Wendy will prepare either the assignment memorandum upon receipt of the Arraignment Memorandum or arrange for formal arraignment, which will set within seven (7) days.

Pleas

Each division will have a monthly plea docket which will consist of 6 pleas set every 10 minutes.  Attorneys will sign up via Acuity.  Walk-in pleas will not be heard. There are NO continuances from a plea setting.  By setting the plea the attorneys are representing that the matter is resolved.  If they don't have an agreement they cannot set the plea. Completed and signed plea paperwork must be e-filed at least five (5) business days prior to the setting or the setting will be cancelled and the matter set for trial.  If a plea is not entered on the date set the will be set for trial with no continuances. All please will be conducted by interactive video technology.

Special Settings: Pretrials, Motions (other than bond related motions), other matters as designated by the judge

Special settings are pretrials, motions, other than confined bond reviews and non-confined bond related motions, and other matters as designated by the Judge.  Each division will use Acuity for these settings.  Walk-in motions will not be heard.  All special settings will be conducted by interactive video technology unless otherwise indicated by the Court.

Motions to Withdraw: Strick adherence with local rules and notice requirements is required.  Please be sure you have advised your client of the next court date, not just the motion date, that your certificate of service on your Motion and your Notice of Hearing includes your client’s physical address (casenet notice is NOT sufficient as clients do not get e-filing notices), and that the notice requirements of Rule 20.01 are met.

Local Rule 21.4:

(3) Notice: In addition to service on all others required to be served, notices to clients of withdrawal memoranda, motions to withdraw, and notices of termination of limited appearance shall include the client’s last known address and shall be served on the client personally, or by first class mail, or by third party carrier at the party’s last known address. When leave of court is required, the motion to withdraw or the notice of termination shall include notice to the client of the date of any trial setting and/or the next court date, if any.

Bond forfeiture and pro rev dockets

There will be no bond forfeiture dockets in June and July dockets may be staggered based on size.  Attorneys are to contact one another prior to the setting and dispose of their matter if possible by e-filing.

Attorney Call Dockets

For all cases in which an attorney has entered, the call docket will be “virtual” and no in-person call docket will be held.  That means that you will not be able to come to court to file your memo or talk to the prosecuting attorney.  Instead, you will have 48 hours to e-file your memo-either continuing the matter to another call docket date (which will be posted on our website) or setting the matter for preliminary hearing.  Remember to set a matter for preliminary hearing you will need to reserve that time slot in Acuity and file the Notice of Hearing within 24 hours.  Virtual Attorney Call Dockets will occur per the division calendar.  There will no longer be daily call dockets or call dockets based upon the day of the week to which a case is assigned.

When setting a preliminary hearing, absent consent by the Prosecuting Attorney, preliminary hearings should be at least four (4) weeks in advance. To set a matter for preliminary hearing both the Defendant and the PA must agree on the date. If a request is made to set a matter for preliminary hearing and no response is received from the opposing party within 48 business hours, the failure to respond will be deemed a consent and the requesting party may set the preliminary hearing for the date/time requested. Documentation of requests and consents to dates is strongly encouraged.

If a case has gotten too old, the judge may indicate on the memo that it must be set for a preliminary hearing at the next setting and if the parties do not do so, the judge will pick a date and time for a preliminary hearing (bear in mind no continuances will be granted absent extraordinary circumstances).

Pro-Se Call Dockets

Until a defendant has retained counsel they will have to appear for a pro se call docket. The pro se call dockets will be staggered with approximately 8 set per half hour.  The pro se call docket will be scheduled on the days the division is not covering the confined and does not have bond reviews.  Therefore, during the first week of June when Division 40 is covering the confined and conducting bond reviews on M-W-F, Division 40 will have pro se call dockets on T-TH.  That same week Division 43 will have pro se call dockets on M-W.

Prior to the resumption of in person hearings: All pro se call dockets will be by interactive video technology.  Each pro se defendant will get a notice with a designated time slot and relevant connection information so they can attend the docket by video or telephone.  The division clerk and docket clerk will help check people in as they enter the waiting room and route them to the judge for a conversation. Remote video location access points are also under development.  Copies of memos will be sent to the defendants with their new court dates as will applications for the public defender’s office.  Video Pro Se Call Dockets are scheduled to begin in mid-July.

When in person hearings resume:  There will be a table set up the lobby area of the justice center and no one will be allowed to enter the courtroom until they have checked in with that table.  Anyone entering the building from across the street should be directed to enter the Justice Center at street level rather than the garage.  The public defender’s office will have a representative present at the table to provide applications to all pro se defendants and will review those applications once completed.  If a defendant qualifies for representation by the public defender, the public defender will file an entry and memo on behalf of the defendant with a new court date.  The defendant will not need to come through security or up to the courtroom.  Only the defendants who do not qualify for the public defender or wish to hire private counsel will be let up to the courtroom.  If someone arrives after their half hour window, they will not be let into the courthouse but they will be given a new court date.  Of course, they may still complete a public defender application and if they qualify the public defender may still enter on their behalf.

Traffic

During the pandemic an additional 10,000+ traffic citations were filed due to the closure of the Fine Collection Center in May 2019.  This drastically increases our volume and will require a new approach to traffic.  No minor traffic matters (those normally set on the 9:00 a.m. traffic docket) will be heard until September 2020.  During this time the prosecuting attorney will be working diligently to dispose of cases and send out as many recommendations as they can prior to September 2020.  This includes all motions regarding any traffic cases.

Traffic dockets will be handled much like the call dockets.  Cases with an attorney will be held virtually with the memo continuing or disposing of the matter due within 48 hours after the docket setting. Virtual Attorney Traffic Dockets will occur per the division calendar.  There will no longer be daily traffic dockets or traffic dockets based upon the day of the week to which a case is assigned.

Pro se cases will be staggered 8 per half hour in the afternoons beginning at 1:30 p.m. with the last docket at 4:00 p.m. and will be by video, just like the pro se call dockets, until in person hearings resume.  The PA will be able to talk to the defendants directly to discuss recommendations and outside the Judge’s presence. The traffic dockets will be scheduled when the Division does not have preliminary hearings or Special Settings.  Both divisions will have traffic dockets at the same time and one judge will be available during those dockets if needed.  Any motions or pleas in traffic matters will need to be set by special setting per the division’s procedures which will be outlined and available on the website. To the extent possible each division intends to use Acuity to aid in scheduling matters.  It is possible that a designated time may be set for traffic motions specifically.  Please see the comments on the next page regarding Motions to Withdraw. Matters must be scheduled so that the number of people in the courtroom at a time can be controlled.  Pleas will be conducted via interactive video technology (once a month per division for one hour at 6/hour) so attorneys should make arrangements with their clients so that they can appear by video.

Certified Muni Dockets

Certified Municipal dockets will not resume until St. Louis County Municipal Court resumes. Certified Municipal dockets will also be virtual dockets like the call dockets for cases in which there is an attorney entered on each side-a memo must be filed within 48 hours of the docket.  Appearances by pro se defendants will be handled like the call and traffic dockets.

Certified muni jury trials will not be set in until we have a sufficient number of jurors appearing to meet the demand.  Until that time matters will be continued on the certified municipal docket. Any matter that is not properly certified for jury trial will be remanded.  In accordance with the Supreme Court Rules, any matter certified for jury trial wherein jury trial is waived will be remanded.  Please note that due to the reduced number of in person proceedings and appearances, bench probation may not be available and DJS supervised probation may be required.  Pleas may be submitted in paper except for blind pleas.  Blind pleas will need to be specially set with the division and will be held by interactive video technology.

Jury trials

Only jury trials involving confined misdemeanor defendants will be set.  Jury weeks will be available in August, October and December of 2020 and subject to the availability of jurors.  Please contact the division to set a jury trial

Bench trials

Please contact the division to set a bench trial. Prior to contacting the division please discuss with opposing counsel if you wish to conduct the trial in-person or via interactive video technology.  A conference with the Judge may be required to set the pre-trial