COVID-19 and the Courts

Supreme Court of Missouri, 21st Judicial Circuit of Missouri, 22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, and U.S. Tax Court

Capes Sokol handles cases and matters all over the country.  As a service to our friends in the St. Louis area, below please find a summary of the steps taken, and links to orders issued, by those courts closest to our office.

Missouri State Courts

Federal Courts

Courts’ Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis

As with everything else COVID-19 related, the situation with the courts is fluid.

Capes Sokol will continue to monitor the situation and update this resource page as needed.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Thom Avery or any lawyer at Capes Sokol.

During these uncertain times, you can be certain of Capes Sokol’s commitment to serve you during the COVID-19 Crisis.

This is part of Capes Sokol’s response to COVID-19.

Last Updated on 05.04.2020




Supreme Court of Missouri

Order Effective April 28, 2020

Statewide Restrictions on In-Person Proceedings to be Eased as of May 16

Summary of Court’s Statewide Operational Directives for Easing of COVID-19 Restrictions

Gateway Criteria

Progressive Operating Phases

Extended Deadlines for Court Reporter Continuing Education

On May 1, 2020, the Supreme Court of Missouri extended deadlines for continuing education for court reports. The reporting year for 2019-2020, which is now the 15 months between July 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. The reporting deadline will be extended until October 31, 2020.

See the Court’s order here.

Important Update to the July 2020 Bar Examination

State-wide Restrictions and Exceptions to In-Person Proceedings

Changes in Supreme Court Operations

Suspension of Rules Requiring Addressee-Signed Return Receipts

On April 6, 2020, the Supreme Court of Missouri suspended any local or Supreme Court rule requiring a signed return receipt by the addressee of certified or registered mail. The signature of a postal service employee permitted to sign by USPS is sufficient. This order, however, does not affect statutory requirements regarding signature of return receipts. This order will remain in effect until further notice by the Court.

Jail Populations and the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

On March 30, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a letter to Missouri judges, in light of inquiries regarding criminal defendants’ risk of exposure to COVID-19 in prisons and jails. This letter highlights the rules and statutes governing bond and pretrial releases, and other releases from custody.

Order Regarding Administering of Oaths

Effective March 25, 2020, the Court suspended any local rule or Supreme Court rule that may be interpreted to require administering any oath or affirmation in-person when such oaths can be administered remotely using technology and is not otherwise prohibited by statute or constitutional provision. Notarization is governed by Missouri statute. The suspension of these rules will remain in effect until further notice.

Extension of Deadline for CLE Credit Reporting

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Supreme Court of Missouri

21st Judicial Circuit of Missouri

Local Restrictions and Exceptions to In-Person Proceedings

Order Pertaining to Depositions and Motions to Quash

Restrictions on Sheriff’s Office

Judge Burton issued an order on March 20, 2020 directing the Sheriff’s office to refrain from executing any writs of restitution, writs of replevin, writs of attachment, writs of partition and any other writs of execution that require them to come into direct contact with the general public until further order.

Domestic Violence Cases

Prohibition on Access to Court Buildings

The St. Louis County Circuit Court entered an order on March 16, 2020, prohibiting certain individuals from entering the court facility.  Included among the prohibited persons are those who have traveled outside the country in the last 14 days or who have interacted with someone who has.

Additional Information

This article will be updated frequently. However, because the situation is fluid, you can access all updates directly at the St. Louis County Circuit Court website here. These pages includes further instructions for Associate Criminal Settings and Family Treatment Court SAFETI Program.

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St. Louis County

22nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri

Court Extends COVID-19 Orders

Order Pertaining to Civil Hearings and Depositions

Prohibition on Access to Court Buildings and Restrictions to In-Person Proceedings

Summons, Writs, Evictions and Service of Process

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St. Louis City

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

Combined Guilty Plea and Sentencing Process During Covid-19

Order Regarding Extension of Forfeiture Proceeding Deadlines

On April 22, 2020, the Court entered an order granting a 60-day blanket extension of the statutory deadlines by which the government is required to:

  • (1) commence administrative forfeiture proceedings against seized property; and
  • (2) commence civil judicial forfeiture actions following submission of timely administrative claims in such proceedings.

Further extensions of no more than 60 days may be granted as necessary.

Expansion of Videoconferencing for Criminal Proceedings under CARES Act

Prohibition on Access to Court Buildings

ADR Requirements Suspended

Per the Court’s March 18, 2020 Order, all in-person Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) requirements are suspended through May 31, 2020, and all parties needing additional scheduling relief should consult with opposing parties and motion the Court for the relief needed.

Jury Trial Suspension

Public Access to Teleconference Hearings

Updated Instructions for the Public and Media to Join Telephonic Hearings

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Eastern District of Missouri


USDC-EDMO Order: COVID-19 Information Center
For all COVID-19 updates, including both courthouse information and case information, the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri launched a COVID-19 Information Center. The page is updated frequently and contains key highlights of the Court’s orders and policies, which continue to change.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Clarifying Procedures for Compassionate Release Under First Step Act

Closure of East St. Louis and Benton Courthouses

CARES Act and Criminal Proceedings—Video and Teleconferencing

District Court Filings and Payment

Civil Jury Trials, Other Civil Proceedings, and Civil Deadlines

Personal Service of Process Suspended Until Further Order

COVID-19 Procedures for Criminal Matters

Bankruptcy Court Filings and Proceedings

All scheduled bankruptcy hearings, including emergency matters, will be held telephonically. The Court will provide call-in information to the parties prior to hearings. Documents may be submitted electronically, by mail, or by email, in event of emergency to: Email filings must include an email address and phone number where the filed can be reached.

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Southern District of Illinois

U.S. Tax Court

Extension of Filing Deadlines for Petitions and Notice of Appeal

Restrictions on Tax Court Operations and Canceled Trial Sessions

United States Tax Court


Internal Revenue Code

26 U.S. Code § 7508A. Authority to postpone certain deadlines by reason of Presidentially declared disaster or terroristic or military actions



R. Thomas Avery


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