COVID-19 Information for FDAP Clients and Panel Attorneys

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the First District Appellate Project (FDAP) extends our best wishes to those stricken by the virus and all those impacted in other ways, including financial losses and job insecurity. These are the most challenging of times.

On this page, we will share information about FDAP operations, Court operations, and try our best to answer any questions. Be sure to view the additional FAQ pages (links at the very top of this page).

FDAP Operations

At FDAP, we have transitioned to remote work. Our staff attorneys have full access to the system and files, and remain available to assist clients and panel attorneys with any issues that arise. We are continuing to process appointment orders and claims. FDAP’s physical office in Oakland is closed. However, on designated days each week, a staff member will be in the office to process mailing and shipments, client correspondence, transcripts and records, etc.

We are committed to keeping cases and claims moving along, but anticipate that delays will be inevitable. Some counties are operating with reduced staffs and court hearings are being postponed. If sentencing and dispositional hearings are postponed in large numbers, this will result in a reduction in cases appealed, followed by a likely upsurge when courts resume consistent operations. In addition, for cases already final in the superior court, there may be delays in the processing of new notices of appeal and in the preparation of records. We understand these delays will have an impact on work flow (and cash flow) and we will do our best to work with the courts to ensure that new appointments and records are processed efficiently.

For more information about our operations, please see the FAQs for FDAP Operations.

First District Court of Appeal Operations

Because of the emergency due to COVID-19, and in cooperation with the orders of various Bay Area county departments of public health, the Court is operating remotely, with few staff at the courthouse. The Court will continue to receive correspondence and filings both via paper and electronically. All paper filings, including emergency writs, may be made by dropping them in the secure drop box at the entrance to the clerk’s office at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco. Access to the court by phone is limited.

Pursuant to Misc. Order 2020-2, all in person oral argument sessions in the First District are suspended. Counsel who choose to present oral argument must do so telephonically through June 17, 2020, and via video conference thereafter using the BlueJeans platform.

Attorneys participating in oral argument will receive email invitations from the Court. By clicking on the link in the invitation, you will be connected to the oral argument. We are informed that this process works best when using the Chrome browser. Other browsers will sometimes require you to download the BlueJeans app before proceeding into the oral argument. There is no need to create a BlueJeans account.

One added benefit of the new oral argument system is there is now remote public access. The Court will post links on the Court’s Calendar page for the public to watch the video. This means out-of-custody clients or family members can watch and listen to the argument.

Information about the Court’s now-expired emergency orders tolling some filing deadlines can be found on the Court’s website.

Supreme Court of California Operations

Oral Arguments: The Court is continuing to hear oral arguments, but pursuant to an order dated March 16, 2020, all arguments will be electronic, by video, conference, telephone conference, or other electronic means. By order dated August 19, 2020, each side will be allowed up to two minutes to give an uninterrupted oral argument.

Electronic Filing Expanded: Effective March 18, 2020, the Supreme Court expanded its electronic filing rules. “Previously, documents in cases accepted for review by the court were excluded from electronic filing.” Under the amended rule, all documents must be filed electronically through TrueFiling and no paper copies will be accepted. Self-represented parties and trial courts are exempted and any party may request to be exempted from mandatory e-filing.

Deadlines: A previous order extending deadlines in March and April for any action permitted under the Rules of Court has now expired. Counsel should adhere to the time periods specified by the Rules of Court.

United States Supreme Court Operations

On March 19, SCOTUS issued an order extending the deadline on certiorari petitions to 150 days from “the order denying discretionary review” (or other cert-able disposition) in lieu of the usual 90 days. The order “will remain in effect until further order of the Court.”