Alameda County Superior Court updates policies, releases 19 inmates

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The Alameda County Superior Court issued a series of emergency local rules, announced the start of emergency hearings and ordered the release of 19 inmates from Santa Rita Jail, according to an April 10 press release.

These changes come after the Alameda County Superior Court issued a second emergency order, which excused prospective jurors and extended the court’s public closure period.

Presiding Judge Tara Desautels issued a general order that released 19 inmates from Santa Rita Jail. From the inmates released, those who had 66 or fewer days left to serve will be considered to have completed their sentences.

The facility has continued to release inmates as a result of COVID-19, 11 of whom have confirmed cases of as of April 9.

According to the press release, beginning on the week of April 20, the court will conduct a limited number of emergency hearings virtually, either over the phone or through videoconference.

The Alameda County Superior Court will also resume its fax filing services for some emergency civil, family and probate documents Monday, according to the press release. The court will also expand the list of documents that can be filed through the Alameda County Superior Court’s drop box.

The Berkeley Courthouse will also add an option to permit drop box filing for probate documents.

Surcharges associated with fax filing will be waived for those with a fee waiver, according to the release. Applications for fee waivers will be accepted both through fax filings and via a drop box.

Check here for live updates on the COVID-19 situation in Berkeley. 

Mallika Seshadri is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SeshadriMallika.