Supreme Court of Texas
Misc. Docket No. 22-9071
Fifty-Fifth Emergency Order Regarding
the COVID-19 State of Disaster
- Governor Abbott has declared a state of disaster in all 254 counties in
the State of Texas in response to the imminent threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Order is issued pursuant to Section 22.0035(b) of the Texas Government Code.
- The Fifty-Second Emergency Order (Misc. Dkt. No. 22-9048) is renewed
- Subject to constitutional limitations and review for abuse of discretion,
all courts in Texas may in any case, civil or criminal, without a participant’s consent:
a. except as this Order provides otherwise, allow or require anyone
involved in any hearing, deposition, or other proceeding of any kind—including
but not limited to a party, attorney, witness, court reporter, grand juror, or
petit juror—to participate remotely, such as by teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or other means;
- b. consider as evidence sworn statements made out of court or sworn
testimony given remotely, out of court, such as by teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or other means; and
c. conduct proceedings away from the court’s usual location with
reasonable notice and access to the participants and the public if:
i. exigent circumstances exist; or
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ii. conducting proceedings away from the court’s usual
location will assist in managing court backlog and:
(A) the court serves multiple counties; or
(B) a visiting judge is assigned to the court.
- Courts may continue to use reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings
a. In district courts, statutory county courts, and constitutional
county courts, the court must not require a lawyer, party, or juror to appear
remotely for a jury trial, absent the agreement of the parties.
b. In justice and municipal courts, the court must not require a
lawyer, party, or juror to appear remotely for a jury trial unless the court has
considered on the record or in a written order any objection or motion related
to proceeding with the jury proceeding at least seven days before the jury
proceeding or as soon as practicable if the objection or motion is made or filed
within seven days of the jury proceeding. A timely filed objection may be
granted for good cause.
c. Except in a non-binding jury proceeding, a court may not permit
or require a petit juror to appear remotely unless the court ensures that all
potential and selected petit jurors have access to technology to participate
- The Office of Court Administration should issue, and update from time
to time, best practices and guidance on conducting in-person and remote court
proceedings under this Order.
- This Order is effective September 1, 2022, and expires November 1,
2022, unless extended by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- The Clerk of the Supreme Court is directed to:
a. post a copy of this Order on www.txcourts.gov;
b. file a copy of this Order with the Secretary of State; and
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c. send a copy of this Order to the Governor, the Attorney General,
and each member of the Legislature.
- The State Bar of Texas is directed to take all reasonable steps to notify
members of the Texas bar of this Order.
Dated: August 30, 2022.
JUSTICE DEVINE and JUSTICE BLACKLOCK dissent.