LA Presiding Judge Authorizes Delay of Criminal Proceedings

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Citing a high rate of COVID-19 cases, the Los Angeles District Chief Justice this month issued the third emergency order authorizing temporary delays in criminal trials and preliminary hearings.

“While the number of new COVID-19 positive cases in LA County has declined over the past few days, case counts remain high along with hospital admissions,” Chief Justice Eric C. Taylor said in a statement released by the court. “The Court continues to work with our justice partners to navigate this surge together and prioritize safe access to justice. I will continue to consult closely with the Los Angeles County Department of Health on changing case and hospitalization trends as we look forward to overcoming this Omicron surge.”

The emergency injunction applies to criminal trials and preliminary hearings where the original or previously extended statutory period would otherwise expire on February 11, and extends the period for conducting criminal trials and preliminary hearings by “no more than 30 days.”

The order also authorizes a 90-calendar-day delay in pre-trial hearings for misdemeanor cases scheduled through February 11, unless they are required by law to be held earlier and the defendant does not consent to a continuation, as well as a 90-calendar-day delay – Day delay on post-conviction progress reports created during the same period.

The order also extends certain deadlines for juvenile dependency cases to “no more than seven days” for minors, for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise be February 22.

The order notes that everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth in a county courthouse, and urges people whose disabilities prevent them from wearing face coverings to seek housing in their courthouse appearance or date.

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