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Please see below for a pronouncement from Chief Judge Morrissey regarding protective, peace, and extreme risk protective order petitions:

After consultation with the District Court administrative judges, Chief Judge Morrissey announced the below procedure in the District Court, subject to changes as the emergency requires.

Pursuant to Chief Judge Barbera’s Administrative Order issued March 16, 2020, all new protective, peace, and extreme risk protective order (ERPO) petitions will be handled by commissioners.

All new Interim Orders will have a corresponding Temporary Hearing scheduled for April 6, 2020, or April 7, 2020. All Interim Orders issued between March 13, 2020, through March 17, 2020, should be set in for a Temporary Hearing date of April 6, 2020, unless a judge orders otherwise. The Interim Orders will remain in effect until action is taken by the court.

The commissioners shall provide a notice with all paperwork to petitioners and respondents advising them that the court may contact them with a different hearing date. Administrative Judges, or a Judge designated by the Administrative Judge, have the discretion to review each Interim Order with special attention paid to those Interim Protective Orders that have at issue:

(1) orders to vacate the home

(2) the granting or denial of custody of any child

(3) a firearm

After review, and if a hearing is determined to be necessary, any Temporary Order hearings should be set within seven (7) days of the Interim Order.

Commissioners are encouraged to request as much contact information from the parties as possible as any temporary hearings may occur remotely via video, audio, or electronic means. Staff will notify the parties through any means available.

If the courts continue to function only on a limited basis as of April 6, further advice will be given.