Report from Quarterly Bench Bar Meeting: April 20, 2022

Report from Quarterly Bench Bar Meeting: April 20, 2022

Rick Gazipura, SCCBA Director at Large and Bench Bar Liaison, submits his report from the quarterly Bench Bar meeting.


Update to the Portal system (Alex Calvo and Michelle Duarte)

–Please check on Portal the morning of your hearing to make sure that have the right department. Changes can be made the morning of, so it is important to check.

–There has been a major update to the online Portal system for security reasons. There are currently some glitches. For example, in criminal cases, it can be difficult to see disposition information and some specific documents can’t be opened. Court staff are working with the vendor to fix these issues.

If you encounter any problems with Portal, please email specific troubleshooting information, including a case number, to

Questions from the Bar

Can certified copies be requested via Portal?

A: No, they have to be requested from the court clerk’s office.

We have had hearings set or moved without checking with counsel about their availability. Is there a procedure or protocol for moving hearings?  It seems that hearings should not be moved without confirming the availability of attorneys to attend.

A: For the most part, in the civil division, research attorneys will contact the attorneys re: moving dates. In other divisions it depends on what the judges want to do. Ken Gorman explains that court dates have been rescheduled to days when he is not available.
Judge Volkmann and Marigonda let Mr. Gorman know that if this occurs, people can email the judge directly to sort it out.

Can the Court please provide an update as to the ending of the emergency rules statewide and in the Santa Cruz Court?

Are there any particular changes that will be taking place by April 30th or June 30th 2022 that the Court would like to highlight?

A: The Chief Justice and the state Judicial Counsel want to move the courts back to normal. Emergency rules are ending June 30th, and the Santa Cruz Court system plans to be back to pre-covid normal by July 1, 2022. There is an attorney comment period right now.

In the civil area, Zoom attendance will still be allowed. Virtually all civil trials will be heard by Judge Volkmann, and the Court is aiming to get civil jury trials out as soon as possible.

In criminal and traffic court, Zoom appearances will no longer be allowed and everyone must appear in person.

How do you provide video evidence to the court and use is at a hearing conducted on Zoom, such as a Restraining Order Hearing?

A: Start by sending a general email to the appropriate division (Civil or family law for example)
Then there is a process to upload it (often to Youtube) so it can be viewed by the Court.

Bench Bar Meeting Format Change

The Bar will be soliciting topics for the Bench-Bar meetings. Please send any possible topics to Lori King at

In addition, to any suggested topics, please also send any questions you’d like asked to the Judges.

The next Bench Bar meeting will be August 24th, 2022.