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Milwaukee County courts to begin re-opening on Monday

Milwaukee County Circuit Court judges will begin hearing in-person proceedings on Monday.

First Judicial District Chief Judge Mary Triggiano approved a phased re-opening plan on Thursday that allows a limited number of courts to resume in-person hearings.

According to the plan, the following courtrooms will re-open on Monday:

  • Courthouse Room 629-General Felony Non-Jury Trial
  • Courthouse Room 635-General Felony Non-Jury Trial
  • Courthouse Room 504-Domestic Violence Non-Jury Trial
  • Courthouse Room 515-General Misdemeanor Non-Jury Trial
  • Criminal Justice Facility Room G55-Overflow Non-Jury Trial
  • Safety Building Room 316-Felony Drug Non-Jury Trial
  • Safety Building Room 506-Homicide/Sexual Assault Non-Jury Trial
  • Vel R. Phillips Youth and Family Justice Center 1422-Children’s Court

The order requires everyone entering the courthouse and the Vel R. Phillips Yourth and Family Justice Center to wear face masks at all times, except as authorized on record by a judge. If a judge does grant permission for someone to take off a mask during testimony, the judge will alert everyone in the courtroom and allow them to reposition themselves at least six feet away from the person removing the mask.

People who are not from the same household must maintain physical distancing of at least six feet while in the court building and courtroom. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray will be located around the courthouse, and the order outlines the court’s cleaning protocols.

Judges and commissioners in the district will continue to use Zoom video conferencing, phones and other means to allow people access to the courts if personal appearances are not otherwise necessary, requested or needed.

Triggiano said the courts were continuing to move forward on planning efforts to reopen two criminal jury courtrooms in July. In the meantime, jury trials remain suspended until further order of the court, and the court will issue a separate plan to address how the county will safely resume jury trials.

Triggiano’s order said the plans are the culmination of weeks of collaboration and consultation with local justice system and county partners.

Read Milwaukee County’s full recovery plan here.

About Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at mpaukner@wislawjournal.com.

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