COVID’s Plans for Riverside Courts in 2021

I would love to know exactly what 2021 has in store for us, particular relating to the havoc COVID has created in our courts in Riverside County.  A few updates for everyone….

  • Private attorney badges from 2020 will be good through June in 2021.  I know everyone was super excited about getting a new one, try not to let your disappointment wreck what has been an otherwise uplifting year.
  • Court is encouraging us to transact as much business outside of court.   Less FSCs, less actual appearances, less clients in court unless for a necessary proceeding, etc.   This will be an ongoing trend for at least the first part of the coming year, but here is the latest iteration, sent via email:

This e-mail is being sent on behalf of Maury Benemie, Deputy Executive Officer.

Good Morning All,

As you know, Riverside County is currently subject to a Regional Stay-at-Home Order as infections continue to rise across the County. In order to mitigate the risk of infection, the Court strongly encourages the use of existing tools that allow for court users to transact business remotely. The Court has also approved the liberal use of the following protocols in all criminal departments:

(1) Approval of ex parte stipulations to continue.
(2) Approval of requests to appear remotely.
(3) Approval of stipulated 1050s that occur in open court
(4) Approval of 977 waivers.
(5) Strict adherence to existing time slots for in-person hearings.

**Please note that Stipulated 1050s can now be submitted by email directly to the applicable courthouse as follows:

Hall of Justice:

We ask that you please submit the stipulated 1050s no less than two court days prior to hearing.

In addition, the Court suggests the use of the eSubmit portal for the filing of Negotiated Dispositions and Stipulation and Orders in Support of O.R./Bail/Bail Reduction. It is important that users select the appropriate title of the document while using the eSubmit portal (i.e. “Stipulation from Counsel”). This allows court staff to identify priority documents for expedited processing. Parties are also encouraged to meet and confer with respect to future hearing dates and to submit stipulations as early as possible in advance of hearings. Continuances of 60-90 days are strongly encouraged for the duration of the pandemic. The diligent and consistent use of these tools will benefit the Court greatly as we strive to continue operations without further disruption.

Thank you for your continued cooperation in these challenging times.”

  • FOR MISDEMEANORS IN SOUTHWEST, there is a new pilot system so we can try to negotiate or get those 1050 stipulations handled ahead of time (this program is likely to expand soon to Banning as well).   Rather than try to track down what DA it could be assigned to or not….there’s an email to contact.  From DDA Tim Cross: 

“We are attempting again to handle more matters outside of court, especially TRC matters.  To help that, I have created an email address that you can send requests for an offer, requests for continuances, plea paperwork, etc. too. 

My intention is to triage this email daily and then either forward it on to the assigned DDA or handle it myself.  You can still communicate directly when you know who the assigned DDA is, but this email gives you a way to get the ball rolling on cases where you don’t know who the assigned DDA is or when there isn’t one assigned. 

I know it is a process, but we believe many requests can be handled outside of court and thereby reduce our in court calendars.  Even if you only do a few of these a day with us it would have a huge impact.

As you know, 1050’s need to be submitted to the court at least 2 days in advance so we ask that you contact us at least 3 days in advance of the hearing.  I don’t know if the court’s have a limit on plea agreements but I would suggest we should probably try to get those to the court at least a week in advance of the hearing to make sure they get reviewed and the case taken off calendar. 

Let me know if you have any thoughts or suggestions to try and help us do less in the courtroom and be more productive online.”

Last but not least, wishing everyone a happy new year!   Hoping everyone stays safe and healthy.  Here’s to a better 2021 than 2020 for all.


Graham Donath
President, RCCDBA

1 thought on “COVID’s Plans for Riverside Courts in 2021”

  1. Is there a master phone list for all departments so that we can schedule remote appearances? Or an email address for each department? The court needs to make it easier for defense bar to contact them. – Manuel Barba

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