With courts shutting down to address health concerns and to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, our attorneys at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP have been receiving calls about how the pandemic is impacting various criminal law cases. For starters, law enforcement officers and officials are dealing with the issue of making sure individuals accused of crimes don’t have their right to due process deprived in light of limiting gatherings at courthouses across the country. Keep reading to find out more about how the coronavirus has affected the criminal justice system
The Supreme Court Ceases Oral Arguments
On March 16th, the Supreme Court announced it would suspend all oral arguments taking place in Washington D.C. The decision directly impacted the case the President is currently embroiled in to prevent the release of his tax returns to the general public.
Additionally, the high-profile trial of Robert Durst, who faces murder charges after being accused of killing his college best friend to try to cover up his wife’s murder that occurred decades ago, will have to be rescheduled for a new date in Los Angeles.
What Are Jails Doing to Stop the Outbreak?
As the threat of a potential outbreak in our country’s correctional facilities becomes more of a possibility, judges are trying to hold emergency hearings to help efforts to reduce the jail population. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, judges scheduled emergency hearings for 325 inmates who fall into the segment of the population most vulnerable to contracting and spreading the virus (age 60 or older with underlying health conditions). The goal of the expedited hearings is to try to settle the cases with plea deals, house arrests, release into the public, or transitioning them to state prisons.
In a memo issued by Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department laid out its priorities for law enforcement and the health and safety of those in the judicial system. The memo was sent out to all U.S. attorneys.
Barr instructs federal prosecutors to prioritize cases related to criminal conduct carried out amid the global coronavirus epidemic, which includes:
- Nefarious parties selling fake COVID-19 cures online
- Phishing emails that send fraudulent or fake messages posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Malware that infects apps that people use to track the spread of the virus
Reliable & Effective Criminal Defense Services
Although Los Angeles County has deiced to suspend trials, know that the dedicated legal representatives at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP are still available to serve you if you are arrested for a crime during the coronavirus outbreak. We believe in fiercely defending the rights of all our clients, and we are here to provide the essential legal services that people need during these uncertain times.
To speak to lawyer about how the coronavirus might impact your criminal law case, please give us a call today at (800) 462-7160 to schedule your case consultation.