Friday, April 3, 2020
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Brazile:
Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Kevin Brazile yesterday issued this order:
The World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the State of California have recognized that the world, country, and state face a life-threatening pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus.
In response to the spread of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom on March 4, 2020, declared a state of emergency in California, which was followed on March 13, 2020, by President Donald J. Trump declaring a national emergency. Beginning on March 16, 2020, California counties, including Los Angeles, began issuing shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20, requiring all Californians to stay home, subject to certain limited exemptions. Courts are included in this exemption.
Public Health agencies, including the CDC, the California Department of Public Health, and local county health departments have recommended increasingly stringent social distancing measures of at least six feet between people, and encouraged vulnerable individuals to avoid public gatherings and spaces. The continuous operation of our courts is essential for our constitutional form of government, for providing due process and protecting the public However, courts are clearly places with high risks during this pandemic because they require gatherings of judicial officers, court staff, litigants, attorneys, witnesses, defendants, law enforcement, and juries—well in excess of the numbers allowed for gathering under current executive and health orders.
In response, on March 20, 2020, the Chief Justice of California, the Honorable Tani Cantil- Sakauye, issued an advisory recommending steps superior courts could take to mitigate the effect of reduced staffing and court closures and to protect the health of judges, court staff, and court users. On March 23, 2020, the Chief Justice also issued an order requiring superior courts to suspend jury trials for 60 days, unless they were able to conduct such a trial at an earlier date, upon a finding of good cause shown or through the use of remote technology. That order also extended holding last day trials in criminal and civil proceedings; and authorized courts to adopt any proposed local rules or rule amendment intended to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to take effect immediately, without advance circulation for public comment.
On March 27, 2020. Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-38-20, which among other things, suspends Government Code section 68115 and any other provision of law to the extent that those laws impose or imply a limitation on the Chief Justice’s authority to authorize, via emergency order or statewide rule, any court to take any action that is necessary to maintain the safe and orderly operation of the courts. On March 28, 2020, the Judicial Council met in an emergency session and unanimously authorized and supported the Chief Justice issuing statewide emergency orders to extend statutory deadlines for preliminary hearings, arraignments, and last day trials in both criminal and civil proceedings.
On March 30, 2020, the Chief Justice issued an order that, inter alia, (a) extended the time period provided in 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; (b) extended the time period provided in section 825 of the Penal Code within which a defendant charged with a felony offense must be taken before a magistrate from 48 hours to not more than seven days; (c) extended the lime period provided in section 1382 of the Penal Code for the holding of a criminal trial by no more than 60 days from he last dale on which the statutory deadline otherwise would have expired; and (d) extended the lime periods provided in sections 583.310 and 583.320 of the Code of Civil Procedure to bring an action to trial by no more than 60 days from the last date on which the statutory deadline otherwise would have expired.
These time extensions are in addition to any relief provided pursuant to a court-specific emergency order issued under a subdivision of Government Code section 68115 related to another time extension or form of relief.
In light of these actions and orders, and as supplemented by the specific authority granted to the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, by the Chief Justice pursuant to the provisions of 68115 of the Government Code,
This court HEREBY FINDS AND ORDERS AS FOLLOWS:
1. The time period provided in section 859b of the Penal Code for the holding of a preliminary examination and the defendant’s right to release is extended from 10 court days to not more than thirty (30) court days.
2. The time period provided in section 825 of the Penal Code within which a defendant charged with a felony offense must be taken before a magistrate is extended from 48 hours to no more than seven (7) days.
3. The time period provided in section 1382 of the Penal Code within which a trial must be held is extended to sixty (60) days from the last date on which the statutory deadline would otherwise have expired.
4. The 60-day continuance of jury trials, which the Chief Justice authorized in her order of March 23, 2020, is to be calculated from the date for which the trial was set or extended, as provided in paragraph 3 above, whichever is longer.
5. These extensions are in addition to any relief provided pursuant to a court-specific emergency order issued under a subdivision of Government Code section 68115 related to another extension or form of relief.
THIS ORDER IS EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
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