New Jersey & New York Legal Defense
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Update, May 28: Courts and Law Enforcement Respond to Coronavirus

In light of the national emergency due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19), courts and law enforcement agencies at every level of Government have taken extraordinary actions:

FEDERAL

  • New standing orders in the District of New Jersey continue the stay on most court proceedings through August 31, 2020, including all civil and criminal jury trials and jury selections. The Order also continues through August 31, 2020, the statutory 30-day deadline in which the Government must indict or file an information to charge a defendant charged by complaint. The Order deems the additional period of delay as “excluded time” under the federal Speedy Trial Act, finding the interests of justice served because “compelling public health and safety issues … materially outweigh the best interests of the public and the parties in a speedy trial.” Central Violations Bureau proceedings are stayed through August 19, 2020. The Order also prohibits new grand juries from being empanelled, although sitting grand juries may continue to meet. The Order explicitly does not toll any statute of limitations.
  • Face masks are required to be worn in all public areas of courthouses, including courtrooms.
  • For more information, see our prior posts.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

  • The New Jersey Supreme Court is considering whether to order the release of state prison inmates who have less than 12 months of jail time remaining. The potential order, which was proposed by way of a motion for an Order to Show Cause filed by the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender and the ACLU, would exclude prisoners convicted of most violent crimes subject to the No Early Release Act (“NERA”); provide the State with some avenue of objecting to the release of specific inmates, and provide some form of notice to victims. The proposed Order would also direct the State Parole Board to expedite consideration of parole for inmates who are over 60 or at particularly high risk of death due to COVID infection and to reconsider parole for all inmates who were denied within the last year. Finally, the proposed Order would provide medical furlough or immediate release to all inmates identified as high-risk of serious illness or death (per CDC guidelines) by the Department of Corrections, with provisions for the State to object and for notice to victims. The Court has heard oral argument and is expected to issue its decision at any time.
  • For more information, see our prior posts.
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