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Michigan Supreme Court's COVID-19 response: a #keeplawopen model for all courts to follow

Since John Grant (@JEgrant3) just laid this out with efficient perfection, we'll simply share his Twitter thread including links to the relevant resources here:

Lawyers and legal services providers who are dissatisfied with how their courts' operations are responding in light of COVID-related closures need to see what @MISupremeCourt and the Michigan Court system are doing. Because they are hitting it out of the park. (Thread)

(1) Start by reading Michigan Chief Justice @BridgetMaryMc's memorandum re: Expanding Remote Proceedings.

https://courts.michigan.gov/News-Events/Documents/Expanding%20Remote%20Proceedings.pdf

(2) Then review her Administrative Order No. 2020-6 Expanding Authority for Judicial Officers to Conduct Proceedings Remotely.

https://courts.michigan.gov/Courts/MichiganSupremeCourt/rules/court-rules-admin-matters/Administrative%20Orders/2020-08_2020-04-07_FormattedOrder_AO2020-6.pdf

(3) Read the newly created (and excellent) Michigan Trial Courts Virtual Courtroom Standards and Guidelines from the Michigan State Court Administrative Office. https://courts.michigan.gov/Administration/SCAO/Resources/Documents/standards/VCR_stds.pdf

(That last document was rapidly developed by a Virtual Courtroom Task Force with participants from numerous constituents: https://courts.michigan.gov/NewsEvents/Documents/Virtual%20Courtroom%20Task%20Force%20members.pdf)

(4) See the updated Michigan Trial Court Standards for Courtroom Technology... https://courts.michigan.gov/Administration/SCAO/Resources/Documents/standards/ct_stds.pdf

(5) ...and the more accessible resource website they put together on Using Zoom and Virtual Courtrooms.

https://info.courts.mi.gov/virtual-courtroom-info

(6) Finally, note the step-by-step checklist they developed for all Michigan Courts, which covers limiting access to court buildings as required for safety, maintaining operations and case flow as much as possible, and resuming operations when appropriate. https://courts.michigan.gov/Administration/SCAO/Resources/Documents/COVID-19/CourtsAndCovid-19.pdf

This is it. This is the model that all courts should be following. If yours is falling short of Michigan's gold standard, then take these materials and send 'em to anyone who will listen. Justice delayed is justice denied, and courts need to keep cases moving whenever possible.

And now Michigan has issued an Executive Order covering electronic signatures. https://twitter.com/mistatebar/status/1248193247903715329?s=21

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