If you are starting to feel antsy from being cooped up at home with your family during the coronavirus pandemic, there is one silver lining to think about: the crime rate in Los Angeles County dropped 23 percent in March compared to a year ago.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore reported the statistics, saying:
People staying home in their neighborhoods, watching out for each other, and exercising social distancing is allowing us to have a safer city. Thanks to the vast majority of Angelenos who are safer at home, who are honoring the mayor's directive. … It is through their work in staying safe at home that's going to allow us to get through this pandemic as quickly as possible.
Crime rates have dropped in almost every category, including violent and property crimes. Even family violence crimes (such as domestic abuse), which officials were worried would increase under the stay-at-home order, saw a decrease of 11 percent.
Traffic and DUI-related traffic incidents are also down, but Moore noted that speeding has increased.
Coronavirus and the Criminal System
Despite the drop in crime rates, people are still being accused of crimes. To address the need to lower prison populations during the coronavirus outbreak, the California Judicial Counsel announced on Monday, April 7, 2020, that bail statewide would be set to zero for low-level felonies and misdemeanors.
Other measures the Judicial Counsel announced include:
- Allowing defendants to appear via counsel or remote technologies for pretrial criminal hearings
- Prioritizing hearings and orders in juvenile justice proceedings and setting a structure for remote hearings and continuances
- Extending the timeframes for specified temporary restraining orders
- Allowing electronic depositions in civil cases
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, chair of the council, said,
... to say that there is no playbook is a gross understatement of the situation. In developing these rules, we listened to suggestions from our justice system partners, the public, and the courts, and we greatly appreciate all of the input. Working with our court stakeholders, I'm confident we can preserve the rule of law and protect the rights of victims, the accused, litigants, families and children, and all who seek justice. It's truly a team effort.
Former Sheriff to Stay in Prison
Lee Baca, who just began serving his three-year federal prison sentence in Texas in early February 2020, requested to be released because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A judge denied the request, saying Baca, who was charged with obstructing an FBI investigation of abuse in county jails, would be safer in a federal prison rather than returning to Los Angeles.
Sigal Law Group
If you have been unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during this pandemic and have been charged with a crime, it is imperative you retain a criminal defense attorney who will fight for your rights and keep you out of jail or prison. Being incarcerated in a facility where social distancing is nonexistent is the last place you want to be right now.
Call us today at 818-325-0570 or fill out a contact form to learn how Sigal Law Group can assist you.