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Coronavirus: California courts halt all lender foreclosures, renter evictions

“We are extremely relieved that the Judicial Council has shown the type of leadership we need to make sure that basic, straightforward protections are in place, reducing any immediate risk to tenants and allowing them to focus on protecting their health and safety without worrying about losing their homes at a time when they are being told to shelter in place to avoid the spread of a highly contagious and deadly virus,” stated Western Center on Law & Poverty, a tenant rights group.”

Coronavirus: California courts halt all lender foreclosures, renter evictions

California Courts set emergency bail schedule to $0 for most offenses

The Judicial Council, the head of California Courts, has issued new rules during COVID-19, requiring an emergency bail schedule during the pandemic.

The new rule sets bail for people accused of a misdemeanor or low-level felony at $0 while they await trial. It names 13 felony violations that are exempt to the rule in which a judge can still use the county bail schedule, and references their state constitutional authority to deny bail under certain circumstances.

“Ending money bail has been a long-time advocacy position of Western Center and we are grateful for this temporary pause of the unconstitutional practice of denying people freedom while they await trial unless they can afford to pay bail,” said Jessica Bartholow, policy advocate at Western Center. “We are hopeful that the Judicial Council will ensure that bail data collected during this time, which is required by Senate Bill 36 and is intended to prevent and document racial bias in pre-trial jail detention decisions, will still be pursued and reported to the Legislature during the pandemic, and that the Council will work to permanently end money bail beyond the pandemic.”

“The Judicial Counsel’s decision to set an emergency bail schedule to $0, for most offenses, will save lives,” said Michael Mendoza, National Director at #cut50, a program of the Dream Corps. “We at #cut50 welcome this temporary solution during this pandemic and look forward to ending the practice of money bail as we move past the immediate risk of COVID-19’s rapid spread and toward a justice system that prioritizes healing and restoration over punishment. More needs to be done beyond this temporary measure to keep people in jails and prisons safe – and to reduce the number of people behind bars. We urge all local, state and federal lawmakers to continue taking urgent steps now, before more lives are needlessly lost.”

California court leaders suspend evictions amid pandemic

“Sasha Harnden, housing policy advocate at the Western Center on Law and Poverty, said the council’s ruling is an important step.

“This is the type of straightforward, broad protection that we have been wanting to see from our leaders to give people comfort while we address the massive economic impacts of this crisis,” he said.”

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California Courts suspend most evictions during Shelter-in-Place

Today, the Judicial Council, the head of California Courts, issued new rules for court cases in California during COVID-19. The new rules include protections for tenants that will achieve the priorities expressed by the Governor’s March 27th Executive Order, which state that a public health crisis is not the time to proceed with evictions. The rules suspend tenants’ obligation to quickly file a response to eviction cases, state that no default judgments for eviction will be issued against tenants during shelter-in-place, and suspend all orders to appear in court for eviction cases. Our summary of the rule on evictions and foreclosures can be found here.

This effectively suspends most evictions during the Covid-19 State of Emergency.

These rules issued by the Judicial Council are imperative for maintaining public health; the health of court workers, defendants, tenants, landlords, and the rest of the public rests on a maximum number of people possible staying in their homes, per Governor Newsom’s March 20th stay-at home order. Tenants must maintain housing at this time.

The leadership shown by the Judicial Council recognizes the impact of California law in real life, and ensures that the intention of orders from the Governor play out appropriately for people on the ground.