COVID-19 Updates and Related Information
A Message from the CEO
As every day changes and our judges across the state face new and evolving realities, the Texas Center is working hard to remain a consistent and reliable resource. We will provide any assistance possible to address any and all needs during this time. We are here for you, should you ever need us.
Given the demands on your time, the Texas Center aims to minimize our communications with members. However, we will be constantly working to keep our website up to date with resources and continuing education opportunities to help you. We will continue to respond to emails and voice messages regularly, so please reach out if you have any questions.
Judge Mark D. Atkinson
COVID-19 Emergency Orders and Guidance
Court of Criminal Appeals Emergency Order Regarding the Rules of Judicial Education
Due to the hardship in obtaining those hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court of Criminal Appeals has issued an Emergency Order on Judicial Education suspending the limitation of four hours of online education.
Supreme Court of Texas Emergency Orders
OCA has compiled all the emergency orders issued by the Supreme Court. All emergency orders expire on May 8, 2020 unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
OCA’s Court Operation Guidance
OCA issued guidance on conducting court proceedings during the COVD-19 pandemic.
OCA Guidance on using Zoom
In order to facilitate court activities, the Office of Court Administration is providing Judges the ability to stream and host court proceedings via Zoom and YouTube. Under the Open Courts Provision of the Texas Constitution, it requires that all court’s maintain public access. Only State of Texas Judges are eligible for access to the OCA provided Zoom accounts. To request access or inquire about a previous request please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Governor Abbott’s Public Health Disaster Declaration
Governor Abbott signed an Emergency Declaration of Disaster on March 19, 2020.
Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders In Accordance With Federal Guidelines To Mitigate Spread Of COVID-19 In Texas
Governor Greg Abbott announced a series of Executive Orders relating to COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation. The four orders serve to limit public gatherings and help reduce exposure for people across the state.
Governor Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-14 Relating to Statewide Continuity of Essential Services and Activities During the COVID-19 Disaster
The order is effective until April 30 and calls for Texans to "minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household."
Governor Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-13 Relating to Detention in County and Municipal Jails During the COVID-19 Disaster
The order suspends specific articles in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and sections of the Texas Government Code related to bail.
Conference Related Information
Judicial Trauma Institute – Postponed
Regional Conferences – Cancelled. Conference materials, if available, will be linked through the Texas Center’s app. When those materials have been compiled and uploaded, an email notification will be sent to those judges who were registered to attend.
DWI Summits - Both in person conferences have been cancelled and rescheduled as online learning opportunities. You may register for either one, it doesn't matter which region you're in. The conferences are identical, so may choose the date you prefer.
Court Professionals Conferences - Cancelled. Emails have been sent to all those registered with instructions on how to proceed.
DWI Topics Online - These two online conferences are comprised of topics originally scheduled to be presented at the now cancelled regional conferences. Read more about the offerings and sign up here .
All of the other Texas Center’s conferences are still scheduled although we are evaluating on a day by day basis. Please check back here at our website for the most up to date information.
CJE Related Information
Many judges are already in compliance and have met their CJE requirement for the August 31, 2020 deadline. For those judges who still need hours, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals the Court of Criminal Appeals has issued an Emergency Order on Judicial Education suspending the limitation of four hours of online education. The Texas Center’s Registrar has reached out individually to those judges needing hours. If you would like to verify you are in compliance, you can view your transcript on the TCJ website. If you need assistance email email@example.com.
At this time, the Texas Center is exploring options for creating online courses.
Public Health Resources
University of Houston’s Control Measures and Public Health Emergencies Bench Book
The purpose of this bench book is to serve as a guide for judges who evaluate public health control measures, such as quarantine and isolation, particularly in the face of a catastrophic event such as a pandemic flu. This area of the law is in sufficient flux that the statutes cited and principles stated in this bench book should not be considered definitive at a later date but can be used as a basis from which to further research and understand this area of law.
Department of State and Health Services COVID-19 Statistics
Current statistics on Texas COVID-19 testing, positive cases, and county-by-county statistics.
National Center for State Courts Public Health Emergency Website
NCSC is compiling resources, news, court orders, and more and updating this page daily.
Current Court Closures
This is a list of counties and courts that have reported to OCA a closing or delay.
Stay Safe Stay Home and Shelter in Place Orders for Texas Counties
The State Bar of Texas is collecting and linking to all the Stay Safe Stay Home or shelter in place orders that have been issued in Texas.