Presiding Judge Eric C. Taylor today announced a 2-week extension of deadlines for certain Criminal cases and a 4-week extension for Juvenile Dependency proceedings, marking a measured shift in court operations to help the Court and its users recover from caseloads impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Thursday, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye granted the Superior Court of Los Angeles County’s application for relief which sought authority to extend Criminal deadlines by four (4) weeks with a plan to open trial courts more fully while retaining the flexibility to address the logjam of pending trials now before a limited number of trial courtrooms.
Presiding Judge Taylor has elected to issue an initial order within this framework extending Criminal deadlines by two (2) weeks to provide notice to judicial officers, justice partners and the parties, and providing them an opportunity to plan and prepare for the work ahead. Meanwhile, the Court will monitor courtroom capacity limits against trial demands, while carefully watching local COVID trends and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LA DPH) advisories and orders.
“The Court will continue to take a measured, responsible approach to returning court operations to more normalized levels,” Presiding Judge Taylor said. “Although we are advancing to try cases at a much more regular pace, we are monitoring a COVID bottleneck of backlogged Criminal and Civil trials building over the last 16 months that our Court will control as we work diligently to address each matter. We will work with our justice partners to provide fair and efficient access to justice for these delayed matters, with health and safety remaining our highest priority.”
Presiding Judge Taylor encouraged all court users to comply with public health mandates as Los Angeles County experiences a noticeable increase in reported COVID-19 cases that prompted the LA DPH to issue more restrictive indoor mask policies for all persons, regardless of vaccination status.
“The Court continues to prioritize safe access to justice while adapting to the constant pandemic-related changes in LA County,” Presiding Judge Taylor said. “The Court’s mandatory face mask order has remained in effect since last year and now aligns with the most recent LA DPH guidance that requires the public to wear face masks indoors.”
In accordance with Amended General Order 2021-GEN-023-00, all persons – regardless of vaccination status – are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth while in a courthouse. Persons whose disabilities preclude them from wearing face coverings compliant with the guidance are urged to seek an accommodation under Rule 1.100 of the California Rules of Court in advance of their court appearance or appointment. A list of ADA liaisons is available at http://www.lacourt.org/ada/adahome.aspx.
Clerk’s Office and Self-Help Center Appointments:
In the interest of safeguarding the well-being of court users, persons seeking services from the Clerk’s Office, court support services, and/or the Self-Help Centers are encouraged to schedule appointments. For telephone or video assistance, or to schedule an appointment, the telephone number for each courthouse is listed at the courthouse entry and posted on the Court’s website, www.lacourt.org.
The Order, which is attached, extends:
- The time provided by section 859b of the Penal Code for the holding of a preliminary examination and the defendant’s right to release from 10 court days to not more than 30 court days, until July 30, 2021.
- The time period provided in section 1382 of the Penal Code for the holding of a Criminal trial by not more than 30 days, applicable only to cases in which the original or previously extended statutory deadline otherwise would expire from July 17, 2021, to July 30, 2021, inclusive.
- By 90 calendar days post-conviction progress reports set on July 17, 2021, to July 30, 2021, inclusive.
- By 90 calendar days, unless statutorily required to be held sooner and the defendant does not consent to a continuance, out-of-custody misdemeanor pretrial hearings set on July 17, 2021, to July 30, 2021, inclusive.
- The time periods provided in section 313 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending Dependency proceedings must be released from custody to not more than seven (7) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire from July 17, 2021, to August 13, 2021, inclusive; and
- The time periods provided in section 315 of the Welfare and Institutions Code within which a minor taken into custody pending Dependency proceedings must be given a detention hearing to not more than seven (7) days, applicable only to minors for whom the statutory deadline would otherwise expire from July 17, 2021, to August 13, 2021, inclusive.
View the full notice here.
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