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local criminal rule 2







Except as provided in Penal Code section 977, subdivision (c), the accused must be personally present for the following proceedings unless they have, with leave of court, executed in open court, a written waiver of their right to be personally present: arraignment, plea, preliminary hearing, those portions of the trial when evidence is taken before a trier of fact, sentencing, and all other proceedings as directed by the court. Consistent with Penal Code section 977, subdivision (c)(1), in felony cases, the court may permit the initial court appearance and arraignment of the accused held in custody, except those indicted by grand jury, to be conducted by two-way electronic audiovideo communication between the accused and the courtroom. The accused must be present each time his or her matter is called in court, including when matters are submitted, unless a written waiver is on file. Absent a written waiver of appearance, failure of the accused to appear will result in the issuance of a bench warrant. A written waiver of appearance will not relieve the accused from appearing in court if the accused has been specifically directed, by the court, to be personally present at any particular proceeding or portion thereof.


In misdemeanor cases, the accused may appear in person, or by counsel, or, if permitted by the court, by two-way electronic audiovideo communication between the accused and the courtroom as permitted by Penal Code section 977, subdivisions (a) and (c). However, the accused must be present in court if specifically ordered as allowed by Penal Code section 977 or otherwise required by statute. In misdemeanor cases involving driving under the influence as specified in Penal Code section 977, subdivision (a)(3), the court may order the accused to be present for arraignment, at the time of plea, or at sentencing. In misdemeanor domestic violence cases as defined in Penal Code section 977, subdivision (a)(2), the accused must be present for arraignment and sentencing, and at any time during the proceedings when ordered by the Court for the purpose of being informed of the conditions of a protective order issued under to Penal Code section 136.2.


(1) Counsel of record must appear at all hearings, unless other counsel appear for them or prior arrangements are made with the court. Counsel of record must ensure that attorneys appearing “specially” have sufficient knowledge of the case, the schedule of the attorney of record, and/or settlement authority to ensure that all court appearances are meaningful and productive.

(2) Counsel must advise the court of any conflicting appearance in the court of another county before requesting or agreeing to any hearing date. Furthermore, counsel must not request or agree to any hearing date in another county that conflicts with a hearing date previously set by this court.


(1) Attorneys may appear remotely in proceedings in criminal cases if permitted by the judge presiding over the proceeding. Individual judges have the discretion to determine how attorneys seek approval to appear remotely. Individual judges have the discretion to determine the scope of any approval they grant for remote attorney appearances (i.e., approval may be granted for an attorney to appear only for a specific hearing, for all attorneys to appear remotely on particular calendars, or otherwise). When seeking approval to appear remotely, attorneys should be prepared to advise if an attorney’s client — whether an accused, a witness, an alleged victim, or other individual — will appear personally in court for the proceeding. Approval for a remote appearance is unlikely to be granted if an attorney’s client will appear personally in court for the proceeding.

(2) Conduct of remote appearances:

(a) No proceeding may be photographed, recorded (audio or video), or re-broadcast by any person who is personally present or who is appearing, participating, or observing remotely without prior written order of the court. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 1.150; Super. Ct. Santa Clara County, General Local Rules, rule 2.)

(b) A remote appearance is a court appearance and must be conducted consistently with the court’s Standing Order Regarding the Santa Clara County Bar Association Code of Professionalism.

(c) Attorneys must appear in professional business attire from a quiet, stationary location with minimal background noise or visual distractions, an adequate Wi-Fi connection, and using working microphones and headphones/speakers.

(d) For purposes of this rule, a “participant” includes an accused, a party, an attorney, an alleged victim, or a witness.

i. Unless approved by the court, participants must appear with their camera turned on. If a participant has security concerns about appearing on camera, this concern should be brought to the court’s attention before the hearing.

ii. If a participant is able to appear only by telephone, that participant must identify themselves when requested by the court and thereafter when speaking during the hearing. Participants appearing by telephone may not place the Court on hold or use a speakerphone. Participants may turn off “caller ID” when appearing by telephone.

iii. All participants must ensure there are no interruptions or distractions for the duration of their appearance at the hearing. No other individual (including a minor child) may appear with the participant or be heard during the hearing without prior court approval, other than when an attorney appears with their client from a common remote location.

iv. All participants must place their microphones on mute unless they are speaking. All participants must refrain from speaking unless addressed or otherwise allowed by the court.

v. Individual judges have the discretion to allow remote observation by persons who are not participants and the authority to manage remote observation, including by requiring the identification of an observer and/or requiring observers to have cameras turned on.

(Effective 7/1/2022)

Criminal Rules of Court: Summary - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8
9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22
List of attached Criminal local forms


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