Coronavirus: Jury Trials In California Suspended For 60 Days

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye Monday suspended all jury trials in California’s superior courts for 60 days and allowed courts to immediately adopt new rules to address the impact of the coronavirus impact.

Cantile-Sakauye said her order was aimed at ensuring California courts can meet stringent health directives, such as maintaining the recommended six feet of distance between people, in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Courts cannot comply with these health restrictions and continue to operate as they have in the past. Court proceedings require gatherings of court staff, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, and juries, well in excess of the numbers allowed for gathering under current executive and health orders,” Cantil-Sakauye said. “Many court facilities in California are ill-equipped to effectively allow the social distancing and other public health requirements required to protect people involved in court proceedings and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”

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Also on Monday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile signed an order that restricted access at county courthouses to judges, commissioners, court staff and authorized people until further notice.

Brazile’s order included the continuance of all misdemeanor cases where the defendant was out of custody for 90 days, unless required by law, and made bail review hearings a priority matter for the next 60 days.

The order also closed the Beverly Hills, Catalina and Spring Street courthouses to the public until further notice.

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the court has taken numerous measures to protect the public it serves, as well as its staff and judicial officers, while fulfilling its statutory duties,” Brazile said. “In so doing, the court is committed to implementing measures recommended by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and that are consistent with our obligation to maintain a safe workplace.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)