Are Los Angeles County Prosecutors Still Filing Criminal Cases During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
This is a good question because your first thought would be, of course they're going to file a case if it's a criminal case. You would think you're not just going to let somebody get away with a criminal case in Los Angeles just because there's a pandemic.
Covid-19 – the courts are crowded and there's issues dealing with the cases. But the reality is, they are arresting people. The police are giving the cases to the prosecutors, and obviously a lot of cases are being prosecuted because I've been dealing with them since the pandemic started.
But what I am seeing is if it's a case where the defendant is gong to end up going into custody, a lot of times they are holding off on the filing of the case.
Avoiding Jail Overcrowding
I believe because they do not want to overrun the jail with inmates, so I think what I'm seeing happen is, somebody will get arrested, they'll either post or they won't post a bail, they'll show up in court and there will be no case file.
A lot of people think, oh, I'm scot free, that's it, they're not going to prosecute me. The reality is, if they've got the evidence against you that you've committed a crime, they re going to prosecute you.
They're just not going to do it right now because the jails are becoming so overcrowded that they're starting to get themselves in a position where they cannot deal with all the people in custody and they're going to end u having to let everybody do, and I don't think they want to do that.
So, based on that possibility, right now they're putting a lot of things on freeze as far as filing cases and dealing with them.
I'm talking about the prosecutors now. The police aren't doing that. The police are handling things differently. They are arresting who they believe they should arrest and then passing it off to the prosecutors and letting them deal with the decision whether or not to file a criminal case.
Temporarily Holding Off a Prosecution
So, I think the bottom line is that they are going to prosecute anybody who they believe has committed a crime and that they have the evidence to prosecute, but there is a chance that they will hold off on a prosecution if they think the person is going to stay in custody because of the overcrowding situation in the LA county jail system.
Another big thing I see going on in addition to holding off on some of the filings is that a lot of cases are being continued for many months while they try to get command of the court system.
I think they'd love to shut everything down. They'd love to shut the courts down and not have judges, prosecutors, court staff being put in a position where they could potential contract the virus.
Because of the elevators in the LA county jail system, the elevators in the courthouses and just because of the close proximity of the people coming in and out of the courtroom.
The problem is LA county is just simply too vast, too large. There's too many things going on, especially with all the protests right now and different criminal activities which I think could be spurred on by the pandemic. People can't find work and are really in a bad situation.
So, I do see things stacking up in the court in an unprecedented level and I've also seen some cases where I'm getting resolutions in cases that I normally would never get and the prosecutors are writing across the top of their file, “this is a Covid-19-related disposition.”
In other words, they're saying we would never normally give this but the reason I' giving it is because we have too many cases. We've got to think the court system out over the course of the next six months to a year, otherwise it will shut down. So, that's really what they're up against. It's a tough situation.
Your best bet is to get an attorney like me who has been doing this a long time, knows how to do everything possible to get you the best result.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.