The wheels of justice will continue to turn despite the coronavirus pandemic’s direct impact on the District Court’s functions.
Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has enacted a provision under the CARES Act which allows for certain types of criminal proceedings to move forward through telephonic and video conferencing appearances of defendants.
The Chief Judge’s general order covers detention hearings, initial appearances, arraignments, revocation hearings, misdemeanor pleas, and sentencings, just to name a few.
According to the order, in cases where felony pleas or sentencing cannot be delayed without harming the interests of justice, the judge may, with the consent of the defendant, use telephonic or video-conferencing for the felony plea or sentencing in that case. This may also be extended to certain types of juvenile cases.
The order will remain in effect for 90 days. If the emergency conditions continue to exist beyond that time period, the Chief Judge will determine whether to extend it.