4th JD – El Paso and Teller

Limited jury trials until normal jury operations resume August 2 (Chief Judge Order 20-21 June 28).

El Paso County was one of the first to announce it was seeking exemption from the state-wide ban on jury trials prior to August 2. One jury trial per day is permitted on specific days in July.

Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek courts are using WebEx to conduct some court proceedings. Information on how to connect to the correct courtroom can be found here.

Masks and social distancing are required. The number of people allowed in the courtroom is limited by the number of people who can be in each physical space and still maintain a 6-foot social distancing requirement. Certain court offices may require gloves.

What if I have court in Colorado Springs or Cripple Creek (Colorado)?

According to the 4th Judicial Court website, parties are encouraged to hold electronic hearings when possible. The court order on reopening is extremely detailed and should be reviewed carefully to determine the steps you should take if you have a court date.

You should not be required to attend an in-person court date if you are a “vulnerable individual”, meaning you are out-of-custody and fall into one of 13 categories:

  1. Individuals who are 65 years and older;
  2. Individuals with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma;
  3. Individuals who have serious heart conditions, including COPD;
  4. Individuals who are immunocompromised;
  5. Pregnant women;
  6. Individuals who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility;
  7. Individuals with severe obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher);
  8. Individuals with diabetes;
  9. Individuals with chronic kidney disease;
  10. Individuals with liver disease;
  11. Individuals determined to be high risk by a licensed healthcare provider;
  12. Individuals with sickle cell disease; and
  13. Individuals caring for a “vulnerable individual.”

The court is not admitting people who fall into four possible categories:

  • Diagnosed with COVID-19 without a later test confirming you are virus-free
  • In direct contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, and
  • Experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any other respiratory illness symptoms.
  • Anyone registering a fever of 100.3 or higher, if screening is performed by security.

There are also limits on the number of people allowed in the courtroom and who is allowed there, depending on the size of the courtroom and who is in there at the moment.

What if I have a criminal court date?

If you are not in jail/prison, you will probably have to attend court either in-person or over phone/video.

Unless you hear otherwise from your attorney or the court, in-person appearances are required for the following:

  • The initial appearance-on-bond court date given by the Sheriff upon the defendant posting bond at the jail;
  • Any felony summons return date;
  • First Appearance/Filing of Formal Charges for defendants who do not have an attorney;
  • Contested Preliminary Hearings;
  • Plea/Disposition dates where the defendant is pleading guilty and where appearing by audio-visual device is impractical;
  • Contested motions hearings;
  • Pre-trial readiness conferences;
  • Sentencing hearings; and
  • Probation complaint and report hearings.

The court has the ability to let you appear by phone/video even if you fit into one of these categories.

If you don’t know if you are required to appear in person, talk to your attorney before your court date. If you do not have an attorney, you can contact the clerk in the court where your court case is scheduled. Numbers for each division can be found here.

Which 4th district courts are affected?

These rules apply to the El Paso County Judicial Building
270 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, and the Teller County Courthouse, 101 W. Bennett Avenue, P.O. Box 997, Cripple Creek, CO 80813.