New Jersey & New York Legal Defense
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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.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

  • The Supreme Court entered a Consent Order to release certain categories of county jail inmates starting this week. The order, proposed by the Office of the Public Defender, the Attorney General of New Jersey, The County Prosecutors Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union, provides:
    • By 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24, county jail inmates who are serving less than one year as a condition of probation shall be released, with the remaining custodial portion of the sentence either to be served at the end of the term of probation or converted to “time served,” requiring no return to incarceration, at the discretion of the sentencing judge after input from counsel for the defendant and the State.
    • Also by 6:00 on Tuesday, March 24, county jail inmates who are serving time for a violation of municipal court conviction shall be released, and the remaining custodial sentence shall be suspended until the end of New Jersey’s State of Emergency has ended or deemed satisfied at the discretion of the sentencing judge after input from counsel.
    • By noon on Thursday, March 26, all other county jail inmates serving time for violations of probation or for convictions of fourth-degree indictable offenses, disorderly persons, or petty disorderly person offenses, shall be released and their remaining custodial sentences suspended until after the State of Emergency has ended or deemed satisfied at the discretion of the sentencing judge after input from counsel.
    • The State is directed to file any objections to the specific release of any inmates in the above categories no later than Monday, for those due to be released on Tuesday, or by Thursday at 8:00 a.m. for those due to be released at noon that day. A special Master is directed to address those objections by Friday, March 27.
    • Specifically excluded from the Order to be released are inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus and those who wish not to be released because they fear for their own safety.
    • The Order also suspends arrest warrants for any released inmates, with the exception of warrants for first- or second-degree indictable offenses, until ten days after the end of the State of Emergency.
    • All other conditions of probation and.or sentences remain in effect, with the exception or in-person reporting to probation, including no-contact orders and driving license suspensions. Inmates are also “encouraged” to self-isolate for 14 days after release.
  • For more information regarding New Jersey state court operations, our prior posts.

MUNICIPAL COURTS

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