Paused by COVID-19, in-person municipal proceedings begin slow rollout in Philadelphia

Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice
Photo credit Kristen Johanson | KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Starting Monday, Philadelphia’s municipal courts will begin to hear a limited number of cases. It’s a slow rollout, after nearly six months without trials. 

All trials, whether by judge or jury, have been on hold since mid-March. Since then, some court hearings and sentencing have been happening over video conference or by telephone, which is how most proceedings will continue. However, some urgent matters will be managed in person, both at the Criminal Justice Center and in Family Court.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have been working to establish which cases take priority, starting with defendants still in prison.

Preliminary hearings for homicides will begin Tuesday and Wednesday.When in court, defendants, lawyers and other essential personnel will be spaced six feet apart, and every person in the building must be wearing a mask at all times.

The courthouses — the Criminal Justice Center and Family Court — will be cleaned at least twice a day. 

Common Pleas Court will resume next week, as will jury duty and some trials.