From the Multnomah Lawyer: News from the Courthouse February 2020

Presiding Judge’s Report and Courthouse Update

Judicial Vacancy

Judge Gregory Silver has announced that he plans to retire and will not seek reelection when his term expires at the end of 2020. This vacancy - position 12 in the Fourth Judicial District - will be filled through an election, not through a gubernatorial appointment. The deadline for filing for the primary election is March 10.

Updates from Presiding Judge Stephen Bushong

Metropolitan Public Defender (MPD) has begun asserting challenges to the cash bail system in Oregon at arraignment and release hearings. MPD may look for an appropriate case to seek appellate review to address the challenges to the bail system. The challenges could affect the pace and other aspects of arraignment and other hearings, but the specific impact is unknown at this time. Judges will continue to address each situation on a case-by-case basis and based on the arguments presented. MPD might also pursue changes to the bail system through legislation.

The “What Works Conference” was held on January 16. This is a conference organized by leaders in the community and the court and is designed to address potential issues in the criminal justice system. The topic of this year’s conference was “Rethinking the Offender and Victim Dichotomy.”

Civil Cases - Practice Tips
  1. Remember to check SLR 2.501 for the list of documents that must be presented conventionally and cannot be eFiled. If a document is not listed in SLR 2.051 it can and should be eFiled.
  2. Under ORCP 79, a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) may be presented ex parte without notice to the adverse party or the adverse party’s attorney. Granting a TRO without notice should be considered an extraordinary remedy. Practitioners should keep in mind the specific emergency justifying immediate relief and tailor the TRO as narrowly as possible to address only that emergency.
  3. SLR 7.055(14) requires practitioners to send a letter to the presiding judge at least six weeks in advance of trial if the trial is expected to take five days or longer or where the parties are requesting to conduct trial on one or more Fridays. The letter should include the name of the motions judge or any other judge that has heard matters related to the case.This advance notice helps the court assign cases and ensure judge availability on the parties’ desired dates. When a practitioner fails to comply with this rule, it becomes difficult for the court to make a judge available to hear the case. The best way to ensure a judge will be able to hear a case of longer duration or on a Friday is to comply with this notice requirement.
  4. Practitioners should carefully consider whether a complex case designation is appropriate and whether it best suits the needs of the parties, lawyers and witnesses before making the request. When a civil case is designated “complex,” the parties must coordinate trial dates with the assigned judge’s calendar. Because the judges rotate to different assignments, the judge assigned to a complex case may not be available for trial on the dates preferred by the parties. If a case is not designated as complex, the presiding judge has greater flexibility to find a judge available on the trial date that works best for the parties and witnesses. Pretrial case management of complicated civil cases that are not designated “complex” will be handled by the assigned motions judge. Where possible, the presiding judge will assign the trial to the assigned motions judge because the motions judge may be more familiar with the issues presented in the case.

Updates from Barbara Marcille, Trial Court Administrator

Remember that new SLRs went into effect February 1. The new SLRs are available on the court’s website and the MBA website. A CLE seminar addressing the changes to the SLRs is anticipated for April. There are considerable changes to sections addressing juvenile and family law, largely intended to clarify and avoid redundancy within those sections.

The MBA sponsored a successful legislative breakfast on December 4. The breakfast was a good opportunity to connect with legislators and other community leaders on important updates from the court.

Interviews are underway for a referee to replace Referee Steven Todd, who retired at the end of 2019.

Joseph S. Hagedorn will be the new Juvenile Referee to fill the vacancy created when Morgan Long became a Circuit Court Judge.

The new Central Courthouse is working in conjunction with the sheriff ’s office to determine whether it will be necessary for attorneys to obtain new badges that will work in the new courthouse. It is likely that new badges will have to be issued, but more information should be forthcoming as the new system is finalized.

Additional Updates

Practitioners should be sure to confirm the location of hearings; one practitioner appeared at the East County Courthouse for a docket matter being held in the downtown courthouse.

The MBA Court Liaison Committee is developing a CLE seminar on technology in the new courthouse. It is anticipated the CLE will occur in the spring and will include information from the court’s technology manager.

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