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Update, March 23: Courts Respond to Coronavirus

In light of the national emergency due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), courts at every level of Government have restricted operations and public appearances.

FEDERAL

  • Southern District of New York. Criminal Case Operations will proceed at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan (DPM) Courthouse in Foley Square and the Charles L. Brieant (WP) Courthouse in White Plains, limited to the processing of New Arrests, Arraignments, Bail Appeals, and Emergency Matters. In multiple defendant cases, no more than two persons will be arraigned at one time. Spectators will be required to sit in designated seats in order to preserve social distancing procedures. Counsel may apply to appear by telephone at arraignments or bail hearings, which applications may be granted at the discretion of the presiding judge. Other criminal matters will be held at the discretion of the presiding judge.
  • For more information regarding other federal jurisdictions, see our prior posts. UPDATE, MARCH 20: COURTS RESPOND TO CORONAVIRUS

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

  • The New Jersey Supreme Court is considering whether to release certain categories of county jail inmates. The Court granted a motion for an Order to Show Cause (“OTSC”) filed by the Office of the Public Defender. The Court is considering:
    1. Immediately releasing any defendant currently serving a county jail sentence as a condition of probation, such that the custodial portion of the sentence shall either be served at the conclusion of the probationary portion of the sentence or converted into a “time served” condition, at the discretion of the sentencing judge, after input from counsel; and
    2. Immediately releasing any defendant serving a county jail sentence as a result of a municipal court conviction, such that the custodial portion of the sentence shall be suspended until the conclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic or deemed satisfied, at the discretion of the sentencing judge, after input from counsel.

In granting the OTSC, the Supreme Court ordered the Attorney General of New Jersey, the County Prosecutors’ Association, the Office of the Public Defender, and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey to file briefs arguing the issue no later than noon on Monday, March 23. The Court will hear oral argument at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24. As an example of the new statewide court procedures avoiding in-person appearances to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Court will hear oral argument remotely.

MUNICIPAL COURTS

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