What's Happening in Criminal Defense with the Los Angeles County Jail System and the Cononavirus (COVID-19)
Right now a lot of people are terrified about going to jail as it relates to a criminal case they might have pending in Los Angeles county or maybe they're still supposed to be sentenced and they're obviously worried about being trapped in the Los Angeles county jail with the Coronavirus going on. Our California criminal defense lawyers are providing an overview below.
Not Reported Cases of Coronavirus in Los Angeles County Jails
One good things about the Los Angeles County jail right now — if there is a good thing about it — is that I was just arguing bail on a three strikes case and I was mentioning to the judge that obviously my client doesn't want to be trapped in the Los Angeles county jail.
This was due to the high likelihood of getting the Coronavirus and the judge responded back that as of today, and that was March 26, 2020, there's not one reported case of the Corona Virus inside a Los Angeles county jail.
So, obviously I think that's good news, although I do know there's a number of inmates who are quarantined right now. So still, time will tell whether or not there's actually people in there that have the Coronavirus.
Of course, as most of you can guess, if one or two people go in there with the Corona Virus — because such a small and enclosed place that would obviously be disaster for the Los Angeles county jail system and the Corona Virus would spread very quickly and put the authorities there in a very bad position.
Inmates Are Being Released from Jail
The prosecutors, District Attorney's office, City Attorney's office, judges across Los Angeles county and the sheriffs who control the LA county jails obviously realize this because they're letting people out in mass.
They've created a list of people who are eligible to be released either on their own recognizance or a much lower bail than what would normally have to be posted and they're moving people out.
I can tell you right now, I had a three strikes case in Long Beach recently and I was able to get my client credit for time served. Now of course, his underlying offense was a pretty weak offense.
However, he did have two prior strikes from 2015, so it's impressive that I was able to get him out but part of it, obviously, has to do with the fact that they want to move people out of the county jail system while they try to figure out how to deal with this virus and it's impact and effect in that system.
Orange County Jails
That's not the only jail system that is making moves. Oranges county is doing the same thing. I recently had a case in Orange county in the Santa Ana court — which I think is the only court that's open right now — and they were letting people out in droves.
Either letting them out on their own recognizance where the prosecutors were offering them such good deals that they had to take it in order to get out of county jail. That's really what the prosecutor seems to be zeroed in.
Because I was arguing with another prosecutor trying to get a good resolution for my client and they said yes, but if we give your client the resolution you're asking for that doesn't get him out of the county jail system which is what we're trying to do.
Hold From Sending Inmates to Prison
Right now, it looks like there's also a hold on people going from Los Angeles county into prison. There's at least a thirty-day hold. So, all locations are trying to freeze up.
The prisons don't want a bunch of new people coming in who might have the Coronavirus and then they would affect and impact all of the people who are currently in there.
Same thing going on with the drug programs. So, if you're trying to avoid jail time in Los Angeles county by going into a live-in drug program, those are all frozen right now because once again, they don't want people coming in there who might have the Coronavirus.
Everything is in a state of flux right now with people trying to figure out what they're going to do and they're waiting a two to four week period to try to figure out who has the Coronavirus and who doesn't.
Another thing that I've learned from talking to some of the sheriffs in the courthouses is, let's say that somebody does have the Coronavirus or they've tested positive for the Coronavirus and that person is now set to be released, what will they do?
Will they keep them and quarantine them or will they let them go? The answer, as far as I can see at least as I post this information about the Los Angeles county jail system and the Coronavirus is that they will let them go.
Programs for Inmates being Released from Jail
There's also programs being instituted for those people who are being released from jail who might have the Coronavirus to get them help so obviously, they don't go out and impact and affect other people in the community.
So yes, it is a scary time to go into the Los Angeles county jail system with the chance of getting the Coronavirus. However, at least that system looks pretty good as far as we can tell.
But, I think over the course of the next two to four weeks, we're really going to get a feel for the impact of the Coronavirus on the Los Angeles county jail system — whether it be at wayside, whether it be at county jail, twin towers, Lynwood, Regional Center that holds or the females.
So, there's still a lot going on right now and I think the dust is going to clear as we move into April and we really get a good feel for the impact of the Coronavirus on the Los Angeles county jail system.
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. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.