FDAP Panel Updates: Oral Argument, COVID Habeas Petitions, E-Service

June 17, 2020

First District Oral Arguments Move to Video-Conferencing
(Eff. June 18, 2020) 

Although in-person oral arguments remain suspended, the First District is shifting to videoconference on the BlueJeans platform. This is a welcome change from the telephonic arguments. (See Miscellaneous Order 2020-2.) Video will allow for an enhanced exchange with the Court as counsel will be able to see and read visual cues from the justices. 

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.

We strongly recommend that you prepare by ensuring that your set up is optimized for video and audio: make sure you are in a location with a strong WiFi connection (better yet, be wired directly to your router)ask others in your household to stay off your network during your oral argument; sharing internet bandwidth can impact the quality of your connectionmake sure you are not back-lityou are in Court, so dress for Court and make sure there is nothing distracting or inappropriate in the backgroundknow how to mute and unmute your microphone; always mute when you are not talking consider standing; this will help you put more energy into your argumentsign in earlyremember you are on camera even when opposing counsel is arguing One added benefit of the new oral argument system is there is now remote public access. Initially, this access was by telephone, but starting tomorrow 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. Because it is the client’s case, we urge you to share with your client the information about public access to oral argument. 

E-Service Email Address for S.F. D.A.
You can now serve the San Francisco District Attorney electronically at SFDA.writappservice@sfgov.org. See our E-Service Email Addresses list for more electronic service addresses. We are working to add more and expect to have some superior courts soon. 
COVID-19 Habeas Petitions – Be Sure to Consult FDAP First, Before Filing in Courts other Than the First District
Many attorneys have clients who face heightened risk of illness or death if they contract COVID-19. We have identified several ways you may be able to help your most vulnerable clients, including habeas petitions, as described on our Pandemic web pages. Before pursuing any of these avenues of relief in an appointed case, please confer with the consulting FDAP staff attorney on your case to jointly assess whether such relief should be pursued, and the best course of action for your client.  It is particularly important that you confer with your FDAP consulting staff attorney prior to filing a habeas petition in a Court of Appeal other than the First District; we may need to address how and whether the work in the other court will be compensable under the First District appointment.