We are currently living in unique times. The spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States is quickly changing everyday life. On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a “shelter in place” mandate, closing all nonessential businesses and facilities in the entire state of California.
While pharmacies, grocery stores, and banks will remain open, state officials are urging everyone to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of the virus and prevent hospitals from being overrun with sick patients. Schools are also closed throughout the state. As of this writing, there is no time frame for the shelter in place order to end.
The shelter in place mandate is affecting not only our daily lives but also the criminal justice system.
California Courts and the Coronavirus
Many courts throughout California are delaying trials and even shutting their doors temporarily. The California Supreme Court has suspended in-person oral arguments and attorneys will appear remotely either by phone or video conferencing. Contra Costa and Sonoma counties are closing most of their courts for two weeks. San Francisco is postponing jury trials in most civil cases for 90 days, and Alameda County has ordered an eight-week delay in civil and some criminal trials.
Here in Los Angeles, the Superior Court is delaying certain trials. Presiding Judge Brazile said in a statement
As the largest trial court in the nation, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County is methodically scaling back non-essential court operations as part of a phased approach.
These measures are intended to protect judges, jurors, attorneys, court employees, and courtroom spectators from the virus.
How Will Prisons Be Affected?
Avoiding prison or jail time is absolutely critical at this time, more so than ever before. Several California prison workers have tested positive for coronavirus, but families of inmates are worried about the health of their loved ones if the virus spreads. A wife of one San Quentin inmate said that many of the inmates are afraid to report if they are feeling sick because they will be isolated from the rest of the prison population.
Sigal Law Group
Here at Sigal Law Group, we take the health and safety of our clients and staff seriously. While things may seem bleak at this given moment, we want to assure you that we are still working tirelessly for all our current clients and any future clients. We are available to meet with you via video conferencing, and we can also talk to you over the good old-fashioned telephone.
If you have any questions about how the coronavirus shutdown will affect you and any criminal charges you may be facing, we are up-to-date on all the latest news with the courts. Call us today at 818-325-0570 or fill out a contact form and we will reach out to you as soon as possible.