Are the Courts closed for the Coronavirus?
There is a lot a of confusion about what is open and what is not open as a result of COVID-19. As a result, there is confusion if the courts are open. In the State of Florida, the Supreme Court has essentially closed any non-essential court hearings, review the order here. In addition, they have tolled speedy trial issues during this time the courts are closed.
What are essential court hearings?
Per the order, these are essential hearings: first appearance; criminal arraignments as necessary; hearings on motions to set or modify monetary bail for individuals who are in custody; juvenile dependency shelter hearings; juvenile delinquency detention hearings; hearings on petitions for temporary injunctions relating to – 3 – safety of an individual; hearings on petitions for risk protection orders; hearings on petitions for the appointment of an emergency temporary guardian; hearings to determine whether an individual should be involuntarily committed under the Baker Act or the Marchman Act; and hearings on petitions for extraordinary writs as necessary to protect constitutional rights.
Concerned for loved ones?
We are seeing many people concerned that their loved one is being held in custody for non-violent crimes while their case is pending, and their case is not moving forward. Furthermore, some people are concerned that their loved may be at a higher risk factor if they were to contract coronavirus. Older inmates or those with prior health conditions may be at more risk if they were contract this virus.
Many concerns come from stories from the inside, lack of proper medical care being one of them. Our governments lack of preparedness nationally gives greater concern for those within the prison system. While these individuals are incarcerated, they are human beings and deserve to be treated as such.
What can be done?
Several lawyers are filing for motions for pre-trial release due to the factors listed above. It appears in Florida; judges are still considering these motions. In Palm Beach County, the Chief Judge issued a similar order allowing hearings to proceed for motions for modification for pre-trial release or bond.
Before this pandemic gets worse, or even penetrates the jail system, do what you can to help your loved one get released from jail while their case is pending. Retain an experienced criminal defense attorney to help your loved one. You can receive a FREE copy of my book “My Loved One has Been Arrested, What’s Next?” by clicking here.