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Remote Court Appearances

“Remote appearances” refer to appearances for a court hearing made by telephone or by video by a party, defendant, attorney, witness, victim, or others (social workers, tribal representatives, CASA, other experts.)  

The court uses Zoom to facilitate court appearances.  See below for connection information, including meeting numbers and passcodes.

Connection Information

General Requirements and Instructions for Remote Apperances

Participants in the video hearing must participate with the same degree of courtesy, decorum, use of appropriate language, and courtroom etiquette as required for an in person appearance.  If appearing by video, participants must dress appropriately in the same manner as they would for an in person court appearance.

Participants must ensure that they have sufficient battery power for the entire hearing.  Access to charging equipment is recommended.  Parties must also ensure that they have access to sufficiently strong internet connection for the duration of the hearing.  If appearing by phone, a land line is preferred but if using a cellular phone, the cellular connection must be strong enough to enable the court and other parties to hear the entire duration of the call.

Parties must eliminate ambient or distracting noises and, if appearing by video, ensure consistent lighting during the hearing.

Participants must connect to the court session at least five (5) minutes before the scheduled court appearance.

Participants must mute their device and not speak until it is clear that it is their turn to speak or their case is called.

Participants must speak directly into the microphone on the device used to connect to the court session.  Participants must speak slowly, avoid interrupting others, and identify themselves each time they speak.

Existing rules and procedures regarding the making of the record via court reporter or electronic device, or for obtaining a transcript after the hearing, apply to remote appearances.  Participants may not record or broadcast the remote appearance except in compliance with California Rules of Court rule 1.150.  A violation of this local rule may result in the imposition of sanctions set forth in California Rules of Court rule 1.150(f).

Any exhibits that the parties wish to offer must be e-filed two business days before the hearing.  Self-represented litigants who are not e-filing their documents must file exhibits with the clerk’s office the day before the hearing.

Remote Appearances on Criminal Cases

Remote appearances by criminal defendants must be approved in advance of the hearing date by the judge.  Criminal defendants who want to request a remote appearance shall submit local form MCR-115 Request and Order for Remote Appearance to Court Administration in Room 303 at the Ukiah Courthouse or email the form to no later than noon two (2) business days prior to the hearing.  Provide an email address or cell phone number on your request.  The court will notify you by email or cell phone as to whether your request has been granted.  If you do not receive a confirmation, you are required to come to your hearing in person.   

Remote Appearances on Civil, Family Law, Probate Cases

Parties in a civil, family law, probate, or other non-criminal matter that wish to appear remotely must complete and file the mandatory Judicial Council form Notice of Remote Appearance RA-010 and the Judicial Council form Order Regarding Remote Appearance RA-020 with the court.  These forms must be served on all parties in the proceedings.  If any party opposes a remote appearance, they must complete and file Judicial Council Form Opposition to Remote Proceedings at Evidentiary Hearing or Trial RA-015 and file it with the court.  This form must also be served on all parties in the proceedings.  Information concerning filing deadlines can be found on the last page of each document.

Guidelines for Remote Court Appearances

Telephonic appearances require sufficient connectivity and an indoor location with limited background noise and distraction. It is the sole responsibility of the party appearing by telephone to ensure the above criteria are met. The court may continue the hearing and require an in-person appearance if clear communication is not possible by phone or if there is a distraction or disturbance that interferes with the hearing.

Video appearances require sufficient internet speed and connectivity to stream video, a device capable of capturing and displaying a clear audio and visual stream, and an indoor location with limited background noise and distraction. It is the sole responsibility of the party appearing by video to ensure the above criteria are met. The court may continue the hearing and require an in-person appearance if clear communication is not possible by video or if there is a distraction or disturbance that interferes with the hearing.

Nothing limits the court’s ability to order personal appearance instead of a telephone or video appearance.

The court retains full discretion to conclude the video or telephonic appearance on its own motion and reschedule the hearing for another date and time due to delay or other concern due to disruption, noise, misconduct, a communication problem, a technical problem, other issue, or in the interest of justice.

With the exception of long-cause hearings, some court and jury trials, most court proceedings can be done remotely.  See below for remote appearances that must be pre-approved by a judge. 

You will need a land line (preferred) or cell phone with a good connection and a quiet location with no background noise.  When you are not speaking, please mute your phone.  Remember to speak slowly and clearly, as your voice will be coming over a speaker phone in the courtroom. 

You will need ONE of the following:

  • A computer equipped with a microphone and camera (Apple or PC).
  • Tablet (Apple or Android)
  • A smart phone (only if a computer or tablet are not available)

The following browsers are recommended for use:

  • Google Chrome 47 or later, on both Windows and Apple devices.
  • Mozilla Firefox 52 or later, on both Windows and Apple devices.
  • Microsoft Edge 83 or later, on Windows devices.
  • Apple Safari 12.2 or later, on Apple devices.

Do not use Internet Explorer

For a better internet connection, use a wired connection with your computer and connect your tablet to Wi-Fi. The court does not recommend using a smart phone and cellular data as it may cause quality issues with your video appearance.

Go to the court’s calendars and use the link listed for the courtroom in which your hearing is taking place.

Public Observers of Court Proceedings

The court welcomes all members of the public to observe all non-confidential court proceedings.   Members of the public that are not parties to a case must come in person to the courthouse where the proceedings are being heard.  Except in the circumstances described below, the public may not attend court proceedings via Zoom. 

In the event a member of the public needs an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act to watch a court proceeding over remote technology or is unable to attend in person due to a travel restriction, a request to observe the proceeding remotely must be made two business days in advance of the court hearing to Court Administration by phone at (707) 468-3498 or by email at  Your request will be submitted to the judge presiding over the hearing for approval.  If approved, you will need to enter your full name when you log in to the Zoom meeting and must keep your audio on mute and camera turned off during the proceedings.  The court has the discretion to terminate your Zoom appearance if your presence is disruptive to the proceedings. 

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