Coronavirus Update: The latest from Sixth Circuit Courthouses
The Sixth Circuit and several district courts within it are implementing changes to court proceedings in light of COVID-19. At the circuit level, the court was scheduled to hear oral arguments this week in Cincinnati, but these have been canceled for now. (Just one, consolidated constitutional challenges to the creation and administration of Michigan’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission for State Legislative and Congressional Districts, has been converted to a telephone argument.) The next scheduled oral arguments are not until the week of April 27. Although we understand that much of the court’s staff is teleworking, that should be a transparent process, and the Clerk’s Office remains physically open and functioning with a skeleton crew.
District courts within the circuit are not uniform. As of this moment, both the Eastern District of Michigan and the Western District of Tennessee have entered general orders postponing in-court matters after the initial stages of a criminal case. The Southern District of Ohio and the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky have entered orders postponing jury trials by one month. No such orders currently appear to have been entered for the four remaining districts—the Northern District of Ohio, Western District of Michigan, and the Eastern and Middle Districts of Tennessee. The websites of the two Tennessee districts specifically confirm that there are no such orders, though the Middle District of Tennessee is not conducting group naturalizations at this time. District courts that have entered general postponement orders have included ends-of-justice findings under 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A) in order to exclude the additional time from the Speedy Trial Act.