Citing time needed to assess COVID-19 trends, the presiding judge of Los Angeles County’s court system Monday announced another extension of deadlines in criminal trials and hearings to determine if there is enough evidence to require a defendant to stand trial.
In a statement, Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor said, “We continue to monitor infections and our ability to provide access to justice unfettered by the impact of the virus on court operations. I am implementing a two-week extension to cautiously assess countywide COVID-19 trends.
“As the court addresses backlogs and seeks to restore court operations to pre-pandemic levels, we will remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
The new extensions allow for:
— the time within which a criminal trial must be held to be extended by up to 30 days in cases in which the statutory deadline would otherwise fall between Sept. 12 and Sept. 26;
— the time for a preliminary hearing following arraignment to be extended from 10 court days to no more than 30 court days in which the deadline would otherwise expire between Sept. 12 and Sept. 26;
— pretrial hearings in misdemeanor cases set between Sept. 12 and Sept. 26 for out-of-custody defendants to be extended by 90 calendar days unless statutorily required to be held sooner and the defendant does not consent to a continuance.
— the extension of time periods within which a minor taken into custody pending juvenile dependency proceedings must be given a detention hearing to no more than seven days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire between Sept. 12 and Oct. 9.
The new order notes that all people regardless of vaccination status are required to wear face coverings over their noses and mouths while inside Los Angeles County courthouses.