As of January 1, no new misdemeanors will be assigned to Divisions 2 and 4.
The current protocol going forward will be as follows:
Any misdemeanor currently in Division 2 or 4 will be called at whatever hearing date is already next scheduled.
For any misdemeanor that does not already have a trial date (so if it is set for another status/trial setting date or some other non-dispositive setting), the case will be called in Division 2 or 4 at that time, the defendant will be informed that the case is being reassigned to Pro Tem and be given a date for that next hearing (likely the Wednesday of the week following).
For any misdemeanor presently set for anticipated plea, the case will remain in Division 2 or 4 for plea/sentencing. If no plea resolution is achieved on that date, the case will be reassigned to Pro Tem at that time.
For any misdemeanor with a present date for a probation violation ("PV") hearing due to a pending allegation, the case will be called for the date set. If the PV can be resolved at that time, the disposition will be pronounced and the case will thereafter be reassigned to Pro Tem. If a PV is pending but no hearing date has been set, the case will be reassigned whenever the defendant next appears in Division 2 or 4 for status.
For any misdemeanor case where the person is on probation but no pending PV allegation exists, the case will remain in Division 2 or 4 If the person successfully completes probation, the case can be terminated at the appropriate time. If a probation violation is alleged before probation ends, the case will be reassigned to Pro Tem at that time. Same rule applies for currently pending diversions.
For any misdemeanor that already has a trial date, when the case is called for status conference, if the defendant wants to go to trial, the case will proceed to trial in Division 2 or 4.
If at that status conference there are other cases scheduled to proceed to trial on the same date, the Court will hear any requests for continuance of any cases that can’t proceed to trial (meaning if the Court has to call in two venire panels and try the cases consecutively or ask for another judge to hear the other case or cases). Those cases that can’t be heard at their presently scheduled trial date will be reassigned to Pro Tem.
For cases with pending motion hearing dates, unless a party requests and the Court approves transfer of the case to Pro Tem prior to the hearing date, those motions will be heard in Division 2 or 4 and thereafter transferred to Pro Tem (unless the trial date is already set, in which case the matter will remain in Division 2 or 4 unless there is a request to transfer).
This procedure is intended to 1) avoid confusion among defendants and attorneys as to court dates and 2) serve to address any speedy trial concerns for either side and 3) give the Pro Tem Division a chance to sort out its protocols without having a batch assignment dropped onto its docket.
Once Pro Tem has been up and running for a month or so and if they decide that a batch reassignment would work, the Court may revisit how to proceed.