Bucks Writs - Summer 2020 - 12
By Scott L. Feldman
t was a bright sunshiny day. People gathered from all
around, some having arrived on foot and others by car.
There was a certain anticipation and perhaps, some
nervous energy, as the masses queued up to get in. Yes, after a
prolonged wait, it was... opening day!
Yet, no one sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame, nor was there
any sighting of hot dogs or popcorn. There were giveaways!
But, alas, it consisted of empty plastic bags to be used only
once and then discarded.
As I write this article, major league baseball has finally
returned, but it was back on June 1, 2020, after several long
months, that the Bucks County Justice Center was again open
to the public. The decision to open, and determination of the
process to do so safely, was not taken lightly.
has authority to determine Court business throughout the
state, and did so via a series of comprehensive, yet evolving,
Orders. These Orders mandated certain matters, while leaving
certain other matters subject to the discretion of the individual
counties. Accordingly, Judge Bateman has issued eighteen (18)
such "Emergency Orders" thus far, providing the Bucks County
legal community with critical information and changes.
President Judge Wallace H. Bateman was at the center of
this ongoing process. In a recent interview, he was quick to
point out that the Justice Center and the Courts never really
closed. As we all struggled with the sudden impact of the
pandemic, and its effect on schools, offices and our collective
sanity, the business of the Court of Common Pleas went on.
His Honor points out that the Court Administrator's office
was staffed every day ("a very high level of commitment").
Other row offices, such as the Register of Wills, remained
open by appointment. Judges sat on the Bench to rule on
various emergency matters, typically in the criminal and
family law arena.
The Bucks County Commissioners, along with Dr. David
Damsker, Director of the Bucks County Department of Health,
provided regular updates and directives to the Courts. The
Department of Prisons provided its updates as well. Meetings
were held with fellow Judges ("the sixth floor was great; the
attitude was 'whatever we have to do, we'll do'"), as well
as with the District Attorneys and Public Defenders offices.
Staff worked tirelessly with a can-do spirit. The Courts' own
information technology specialist, David S. Gomez, was
Judge Bateman received information and guidance from
all directions. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania (AOPC)
Bucks Writs - Summer 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Bucks Writs - Summer 2020
Bucks Writs - Summer 2020 - 1
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