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Court Operations during COVID-19 Pandemic Event

Attention: The Court has adopted General Order #160, which, pursuant to Section 15002(b)(1) of the CARES Act, extends the authorization for judges in this District to conduct certain criminal proceedings by videoconference, or, where videoconference is not reasonably available, by telephone, to January 3, 2023. The full text of the order can be found here.

Attention Prospective Jurors: The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York has developed procedures to ensure the safety of all who enter the federal courthouses. If you receive a summons or notice from this court, please follow the enclosed instructions regarding your service. Announcements regarding jury service and trials from New York State, Erie and Monroe county courts do not apply to this court or federal jury service in this district.
 
  • 07/29/2022 - The Court has adopted General Order #159 regarding visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. General Order #159 amends General Order #155 by eliminating the requirement that visitors to this District’s courthouses undergo a temperature scan and by making it permissive for court security officers or the United States Marshals Service to question such visitors regarding whether they meet enumerated criteria for restricting entry.  The full text of the order can be found here.
  • 07/07/2022 - The Court has adopted General Order #158, which, pursuant to Section 15002(b)(1) of the CARES Act, extends the authorization for judges in this District to conduct certain criminal proceedings by videoconference, or, where videoconference is not reasonably available, by telephone, to October 5, 2022. The full text of the order can be found here.
  • 04/08/2022 - The Court has adopted General Order #156, which, pursuant to Section 15002(b)(1) of the CARES Act, extends the authorization for judges in this District to conduct certain criminal proceedings by videoconference, or, where videoconference is not reasonably available, by telephone, to July 7, 2022. The provisions of General Order # 148 pertaining to Naturalization Proceedings, Public and Media Access to Proceedings, Attorney Admissions, and Courthouses Remain Open, the provisions of General Order # 151, and the provisions of General Order # 155 remain in full force and effect. The full text of the order can be found here.
  • 03/01/2022 - Chief Judge Elizabeth Wolford has signed General Order #155 which supersedes General Order #149 regarding face mask requirements in the courthouses of the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. General Order #155 also orders that the following provisions of the Court’s previously entered General Orders pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic remain in full force and effect: all provisions of General Order 152 entered on January 10, 2022; all provisions of General Order 151 entered on December 14, 2021; and the provisions of General Order 148 entered on July 14, 2021, pertaining to Naturalization Proceedings, Public and Media Access to Proceedings, Attorney Admissions, and Courthouses Remain Open. The full text of the order can be found here.
  • 01/10/2022 -  The Court has adopted General Order #152, which, pursuant to Section 15002(b)(1) of the CARES Act, extends the authorization for judges in this District to conduct certain criminal proceedings by videoconference, or, where videoconference is not reasonably available, by telephone, to April 8, 2022. The other provisions of General Order #148, as modified by General Orders #149 and #151, remain in full force and effect.  The full text of the order can be found here.
  • 01/01/2022 - Chief Judge Elizabeth Wolford has signed General Order #151 addressing updates to the processing of CJA vouchers.  In an effort to avoid placing a financial burden on appointed CJA counsel, and pursuant to the Guide to Judiciary Policy, Volume 7, Part A, Chapter 2, §230.73.10, the Court hereby authorizes CJA Panel Attorneys to submit interim vouchers for compensation, without prior Court approval, so long as the voucher exceeds $3,000.00 and is not submitted within three months of a prior interim voucher in the same criminal matter. This Order supersedes the provisions of all other General Orders entered by this Court regarding the authorization of CJA interim payments during the COVID-19 pandemic, including General Order # 148 entered on July 14, 2021. This Order shall be effective as of January 1, 2022, and shall remain in effect unless otherwise ordered by the Court. The full text of the order can be found here.

  • 10/12/2021 - The Court has adopted General Order #150, which, pursuant to Section 15002(b)(1) of the CARES Act, extends the authorization for judges in this District to conduct certain criminal proceedings by videoconference, or, where videoconference is not reasonably available, by telephone, to January 10, 2022. The other provisions of General Order #148, as modified by General Order #149, remain in full force and effect. Full text of the order can be found here.
  • 08/04/2021 - The court has adopted General Order #149, all persons entering either Robert H. Jackson U.S. Courthouse (Buffalo) or Kenneth B. Keating U.S. Courthouse (Rochester) will be required to wear masks in any public space, regardless of vaccination status.  Protocols in each courtroom will be left up to the presiding judicial officer, as will the policies in any chambers or office space of any agency or court unit.  Further details can be found in the full text of the order which can be found here.
  • 07/14/2021 - The Court has adopted General Order #148 which supersedes General Orders #146 and #147.  The Order maintains all existing COVID-related policies with the exception of accepting of grand jury returns by video.  The full text of the Order can be found here.
  • 06/01/2021 - The court has adopted General Order #147 which modifies General Order #146 (dated 4/23/2021) with regard to face coverings/masks. The order now allows vaccinated individuals, in certain circumstances, to have the option to wear or not wear a mask or face covering. Visitors must be willing to share proof of vaccine status either through a recognized vaccination card or the NYS Excelsior Pass. Individual judges have the discretion to maintain masking policies for their courtrooms and chambers. Please note that social distancing requirements will remain in effect regardless of vaccine status. Please check the court’s web site or contact individual judge’s chambers to learn of any of their specific rules. Details on the rules and procedures can be found in the order located here.
  • 04/23/2021 - The court has issued an updated order that updates court operations. Please note that this General Order extends or modifies many of the provisions of the Court's previous COVID general orders. General Order No. 146 expires on July 14, 2021.

    Among other items detailed in the order is a change to the rules governing the processing of remote pleas and sentencings. A felony plea and sentence may only be conducted remotely if the presiding judge makes a determination on the record that it is in the best interest of the health and safety of all to conduct the proceeding remotely, finds that the case cannot be further delayed without serious harm to the interests of justice, and the defendant consents to proceed remotely and waive personal appearance.

    Please contact the judge's chambers to determine the status of any matters you may have scheduled. Additional details can be found in the full text of the order, found here.

  • 02/24/2021 - The court has issued an updated order that updates court operations. Effective February 24, 2021, all civil and criminal jury trials are continued until April 23, 2021. All personal appearances are also continued unless the presiding judge deems a personal appearance essential. Appearances will be coordinated with the chambers staff and courtroom deputies assigned to a particular judge. Please contact chambers to determine the status of any matters you may have scheduled.

    The Clerk’s Office will operate with reduced hours from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm. Drop boxes are available in both courthouses and electronic filing remains available. The courthouses will remain open and phones in both chambers and the Clerk’s Office will be answered.

    Additional detail and the full text of the order can be found here.

    The court has updated its policy regarding access to video and teleconference proceedings. Click here to read more.

  • 12/8/2020 - The Court has issued a General Order updating Court Operations and Access (12/8/2020).  Effective December 8, 2020, all civil and criminal jury trials are continued until February 24, 2021. All personal appearances are also continued unless the presiding judge deems a personal appearance essential. Appearances will be coordinated with the chambers staff and courtroom deputies assigned to a particular judge. Please contact chambers to determine the status of any matters you may have scheduled.
     
  • The Clerk’s Office will operate with reduced hours from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm. Drop boxes are available in both courthouses and electronic filing remains available. The courthouses will remain open and phones in both chambers and the Clerk’s Office will be answered.
     
  • Additional detail and the full text of the order can be found here.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • 9/24/2020 - The Court has issued a General Order updating Court Operations and Access (9/23/2020). This order extends many of the previous orders through 12/24/2020. Details and full text of the order can be found here.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • 7/15/2020 - The Court has issued a General Order updating Court Operations and Access (7/15/2020). This order extends many of the previous orders. Details and full text of the order can be found here.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • 6/26/2020 - The Court has issued a General Order updating the Video and Teleconferencing Criminal Proceedings Under the CARES Act provisions. This order extends the deadline for using video and teleconferencing options available to the court under the CARES Act. Details and full text of the order can be found here.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • 6/15/2020 - The Court has issued a General Order updating Court Operations and Access (6/15/2020).  This order extends many of the previous orders.  Details and full text of the order can be found here.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • 5/13/2020 - The Court has issued a General Order updating Court Operations and Access (5/13/2020).  This order extends many of the previous orders.  Details and full text of the order can be found here.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • The  Pro Se Assistance Program (“PSAP”) — run by legal services providers in both Buffalo and Rochester — is open on a remote basis to assist non-prisoner pro se litigants with cases pending in our District during the COVID-19 pandemic.  There are no in-person consultations. For more information, click on the appropriate link below:
     
  • Buffalo Pro Se Assistance Program Flyer
  • Rochester Pro Se Assistance Program Flyer
  • 4/23/2020 - The United States District Court for the Western District of New York has issued an updated general order (4/23/2020) regarding visitor restrictions and the use of PPEs in all courthouses in the District as a result of the COVID-19 virus continuing to spread throughout New York State. Please note, this order supersedes the general order dated 3/12/2020. Click here for the details on the restrictions and other information.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • The court has updated its policy regarding access to video and teleconference proceedings. Click here to read more.
  • 4/17/2020 - Chief Judge Geraci has issued a general order regarding court appearances under the exigent circumstances created by COVID-19. Read the full order here.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • 3/30/2020 - Chief Judge Geraci has issued a general order regarding the CARES Act. The Act provides for greater flexibility of video conferenced and teleconferenced proceedings. Read the full order here.
  • 3/27/2020 - Chief Judge Geraci has issued a general order regarding interim CJA payments. Read the full order here.
  • 3/20/2020 - FINANCIAL DEPOSITS UNDER THE EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES CREATED BY COVID-19.  Read the full order here.
  • 3/18/2020 - Chief Judge Geraci has issued a general order regarding attorney admissions during the COVID-19 situation. Details can be found in the order available here.
     
  • Puede encontrar una versión en español de las restricciones y otros detalles aquí.
  • 3/18/2020 - Chief Judge Geraci has issued a general order regarding criminal jury trials affected by the COVID-19 situation. Details can be found in the order available here.
     
  • Puede encontrar una versión en español de las restricciones y otros detalles aquí.
  • 3/16/2020 - Chief Judge Geraci has issued a general order regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution deadlines affected by the COVID-19 situation.  Details can be found in the order available here.
     
  • Puede encontrar una versión en español de las restricciones y otros detalles aquí.
  • 3/13/2020 - The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York has issued a General Order regarding Court Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic Event. Please read the full order here.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.
  • 3/12/2020 - The United States District Court for the Western District of New York announces visitor restrictions to all courthouses in the District as a result of the COVID-19 virus beginning to spread in New York State. Click here for the details on the restrictions and other information.
     
  • Puede encontrar una versión en español de las restricciones y otros detalles aquí.
  • 3/12/2020 - The United States District Court for the Western District of New York has issued a general order (3/12/2020) regarding visitor restrictions to all courthouses in the District as a result of the COVID-19 virus beginning to spread in New York State. Please note, this order has been superseded by the general order dated 4/23/2020. Click here for the details on the restrictions and other information.
     
  • Una traducción al español de este orden general está disponible aquí.