COVID Surge halts criminal proceedings in LA

LOS ANGELES, CA — Citing a “large portion” of prison inmates quarantined as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Los Angeles County president this month issued the second emergency warrant allowing criminal jury trials and preliminary hearings are temporarily postponed .

The emergency injunction — which comes 10 days after the first criminal trial delay since October last year was approved — applies to criminal jury trials and preliminary hearings where the original or previously extended legal term would otherwise expire between now and January 28. and extends the period for holding criminal trials and preliminary hearings by “not more than 30 days”.

“As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles shatters previous levels, many entities are struggling as employees and others are quarantined after exposure to COVID-19,” chairman Eric C. Taylor wrote in the injunction. “The court has not been spared this challenge and is now amending its general order to enforce statutory time limits for preliminary hearings due to the high percentage of Los Angeles County prison inmates being quarantined.”

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The warrant also allows a 90 calendar day delay in pre-trial investigations for crimes established through January 28, unless they are required by law to be detained earlier and the accused does not agree to continue, as well as a 90 calendar day delay in progress reports after the convictions drawn up during the same period.

“As the troubling number of COVID hospitalizations rises to more than 4,000 in LA County, the court remains committed to prioritizing the health and safety of court users, judicial partners, bailiffs and employees, while continuing to provide safe access to justice. the report said. said the presiding judge in a statement from the court.

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The warrant provides flexibility in bailiff scheduling and reduces the number of attorneys, witnesses, jurors and others at the county courthouses, Taylor said.

The order notes that everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, is required to wear face coverings over nose and mouth in a courthouse, and that people whose disabilities prevent them from wearing face coverings are requested to seek accommodation before entering the trial. court appearance or appointment.

“Together we must do everything we can to keep each other safe as we move to the other side of this winter wave,” the chairman added.

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