Posted in Criminal Defense on April 23, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed most aspects of daily life in the United States. As state and federal governments have taken measures to slow the spread of coronavirus, millions of Americans have been placed under quarantine or stay at home orders. This has certainly affected businesses, but it has also affected the court system. COVID-19 has greatly affected criminal cases that are awaiting trial. Most non-emergency court cases have been delayed, and a right to a speedy trial has taken a back seat due to this national health crisis.
States across the country have indefinitely postponed new criminal and civil trials in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Even the US Supreme Court announced that it would be postponing oral arguments for the first time in more than 100 years. The last time the Supreme Court did so was in response to the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.
On March 23, 2020, California’s chief justice issued a sweeping order that discontinued criminal and civil trials in the state for at least two months in an effort to cut down on public traffic and state courthouses. Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye said that court facilities were “ill-equipped to effectively allow the social distancing and other public health requirements” necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This could lead to the indefinite detention of those awaiting trial. These delays will inevitably create an overwhelming backlog of cases that will have significant legal ramifications, particularly when it comes to the Constitutional guarantee of a speedy and fair trial.
COVID-19 has very much affected jail and prison populations throughout the United States. Due to close confinement, it is virtually impossible to control the spread of this virus within prison and jail walls. All over the US, both inmates and correctional staff have tested positive or COVID-19.
Trial delays will only increase the population of incarcerated individuals, particularly those awaiting trial and county jail facilities. Despite efforts in many locations to reduce the number of incarcerated individuals in response to COVID-19, it is very likely that more and more people will become ill behind bars.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, domestic violence charges, or assault charges you are likely wondering how the coronavirus pandemic will affect your case. The answer is that we are still in the process of working through this national health crisis, and the effects of the delays will not be known for some time. However, it is absolutely vital that you have a skilled attorney by your side through this process. At the Law Offices of Graham Donath, APC, our Riverside criminal defense lawyers will work to ensure that every one of our clients is treated fairly. Graham Donath will work to get all pending trials scheduled and into the courts as soon as possible after closure orders are lifted.
Attorney Donath will also work to ensure that every defendant’s right to a speedy trial is upheld. Nobody should have to experience being held in overcrowded jails for months, or even years, because their case is not being heard. You can contact us for a consultation on your case by clicking here or by calling as soon as possible.