Edgartown District Court and Dukes County Superior Court will be closed beginning Wednesday, through April 6, according to an order issued by the Supreme Judicial Court closing all courts in the Bay State due to the “public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the order, “the only matters that will be heard in person in Massachusetts state courthouses are emergency matters that cannot be held by videoconference or telephone.”
Courthouses will be closed to the public, except to conduct emergency hearings. “The clerk’s office of the Edgartown District Court shall remain open to the public to accept pleadings and other documents in emergency matters only,” Liza Williamson, clerk magistrate, wrote.
All trials in both criminal and civil cases scheduled to commence in Massachusetts state courts between Tuesday, March 17, and April 17, 2020, are continued to a date no earlier than April 21, unless the trial is a civil case where the parties and the court agree that the case can be decided without the need for in-person appearances in court.
“Parties without attorneys are asked to call the courthouse to obtain a new date for their matters,” the notice from Williamson states. “Courts, to the best of their ability, will attempt to address matters that can be resolved or advanced without in-person proceedings through communication by telephone, videoconferencing, email, or other comparable means.”