Which Type of Cases are the Los Angeles Courts Dealing with in Today's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Lockdown?
Believe it or not, all 38 of the Los Angeles criminal courts are still open for business as I make this post in late March and they probably will be through this virus. I don't think there's going to be a complete shutdown of the courthouses.
However, unless things really get out of control and I think the reason for that is because there's a lot of people who are in custody and also, the criminal justice system in Los Angeles county is huge with so many cases going through it.
If they shut it down for too long of a period of time it would obviously have a disastrous effect on any future criminal cases being handled in these courthouses.
Serious Felony Criminal Cases
But the bottom line is, if it's a real serious criminal case, most of the courts seem to be having the hearings on those cases even though I've seen some of the preliminary hearings settings in felony cases just automatically continued into April without the defendant actually being brought into court or the attorney even being in court.
Mainly the cases that they're targeting and allowing to actually come into criminal court are new arraignments — especially if the person is in custody. Even out of custody arraignments are still being dealt with.
In addition, preliminary hearing, even though they're mostly getting continued, the defendants are still having to appear in the court with their attorney and there must be a time waiver they must agree to put the case over to April, May or June, depending on what type of case it is and how much custody time the person is actually looking at.
Preliminary Hearings and Arraignments
So, those are the two main categories of cases — preliminary hearings and arraignments — that are being heard. The order by the presiding judge of Los Angeles county related to criminal cases is pretty vague.
It says that all cases are supposed to be continued except for arraignments and preliminary hearings, but then it doesn't really direct the clerks or the judges as to what they're supposed to do with those cases and what the procedure is supposed to be.
That has caused some individuals to just continue the cases on their own without actually have the defendants come into court, while other courts are actually having the defendants come into court even on preliminary hearing setting cases in Los Angeles county.
So, you really have to make sure that you coordinate with the court and that's what we've been doing. Day after day we're calling the courts. We're calling the court clerks and if we're in doubt, we're obviously going to court with our clients.
We don't want a bench warrant to be issued for our clients or put our clients in a bad position, especially with the threat of going to jail when Coronavirus is flying all around. You don't want your clients going to jail if they don't have to.
Communication with the Courts During Coronavirus Lockdown
We have a pretty good reputation with most of the courthouses in Los Angeles county. We've had pretty good success in dealing with these cases while we're making calls to clerks and making appearances in court.
I think I made a court appearance everyday since all of this started and we're still making them because we have a lot of cases and we have a lot of clients who are in custody and need to be assisted.
Obviously, I'm trying to argue for my clients to get out of custody on their own recognizance because of the danger of Covid-19 going through the county jail system very quickly. They are not able to contain it because of the close quarters there and I've also tried to resolve cases and get my clients out of custody by working out resolutions.
A lot times — depending on the type of case, the serious nature of the case and whether or not the defendants are a threat to the public's safety — that's pretty much dictating whether or not we have a good chance of resolving the case and getting the person out of custody.
So, if you or a loved one is in custody and you want to have your matter dealt with by an attorney who has a lot of experience and has had a lot of success dealing with these cases, pick up the phone.
Call right now. A lot of times I'm able to be retained on the case very quickly and I can make some moves on you or your loved one's behalf to get them out of custody.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located 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.