Berrien County courts response to COVID-19

The Berrien County Trial Court will remain open, but will limit activities of the court and visitors to the courthouse.

The court has made the following modifications:

  • Only individuals who are a party to a case with an already scheduled court proceeding (defendant, plaintiff, witness, victim, attorney) shall be allowed into either the St. Joseph or Niles courthouse locations.
  • Individuals with general operational inquiries (i.e. Friend of the Court questions, payment questions, general questions) must call before coming to the courthouse locations and will be seen in the courthouse locations by appointment only.
  • All jury trials will be adjourned past May 4, 2020 with the exception of criminal cases with incarcerated defendants.
  • If you have been given a date to appear for arraignment by law enforcement, please call and reschedule at the number listed as attached.
  • All non-misdemeanor traffic cases or civil infractions may be handled online or by phone.
  • All payments (either to the Trial Court Finance Office or the Friend of the Court) can be made either on line, by mail, or by phone. If none of those options are accessible to you, please contact your assigned enforcement officer to make arrangements.
  • All probation reporting (both adult and juvenile) will be determined individually by the probation officer in consultation with their supervisor. Please call your assigned probation officer to determine the status of your probation reporting during the state of emergency.
  • All court ordered drug testing and PBT's will be suspended until further notice.
  • The Self-Help Legal Resource Center will be closed to the public until May 4, 2020. The public may contact the LRC staff either by phone or email during this time. All court forms for all case types as approved by the State Court Administrator's Office (SCAO) are available online at
  • All juvenile delinquency review hearings for those youth not in out-of-home placement and adoption finalization hearings will be adjourned past May 4, 2020. Those individuals will be mailed new notices for new hearing dates.
  • All contested domestic relations hearings will be held, but pai1ies are asked to contact their assigned domestic investigator (if assigned) to inform of ai1y potential witnesses being asked to testify on their behalf.
  • Unless stated otherwise, all criminal hearings will be held as currently scheduled.
  • Individuals may still enter the courthouse to initiate filing new court proceedings. During the period of emergency, SCAO has allowed for courts to accept filings by e-mail. You may e-mail filings to the addresses listed below.
  • Individuals should not come to the courthouse locations if they are sick or have been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. In these instances, please contact the court to reschedule your hearing.
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