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Court services drastically reduced during Coronavirus pandemic

Most court services will be closed until April 3.
Posted at 7:00 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 23:52:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Court services are being drastically reduced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which affects both civil and criminal proceedings. The closure will last until April 3rd.

“My fear is that we’re going to have situations where individuals are going to stay in custody longer than what the law permits,” said David P. Shapiro, a criminal defense attorney. “What happens to the individuals who are in custody who have a future court date?”

By law, you should have your first court appearance within 48 hours after your arrest. That excludes weekends and holidays, according to a spokesperson with the District Attorney’s Office.

“We are in constant meetings with the court and the Public Defender and the Sheriff, our law enforcement partners,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan.

Stephan said they have dealt with closures, such as during our past major wildfires. They are working on a system to review criminal cases to see who is suitable for community release.

“This is an evolving process, but what we’re trying to do is to maintain due process in the time of crisis,” Stephan said.

A Sheriff’s Department spokesperson told 10News they are “working with the District Attorney’s Office and evaluating the impact” the court closures might have.

“I was personally hoping they would have an emergency department available through all this just for arraignments, just for in-custody arraignments. Then we can at least address individuals who have been arrested,” Shapiro said.

The court will still be available for restraining orders, emergency conservatorship, and search warrants. For a full list of what has been affected, click here.