The presiding judge for the Los Angeles Superior Court issued a new general order Friday prioritizing criminal jury trial while allowing certain civil cases to move forward in accordance with social distancing protocols.
The court will give priority to criminal trials that were previously continued under a judicial emergency order issued in March by Judge Kevin C. Brazile for either misdemeanor or felony jury trials, according to a statement from the court, which added there are approximately 7,000 criminal cases that must be tried to satisfy a defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
“One of the most important principles of our constitutional democracy is the right of persons accused of a crime to have a speedy trial,” Brazile said.
“Preserving that right while protecting the well-being of all participants in a trial during a pandemic involving a highly contagious respiratory virus is an unprecedented challenge for trial courts.”
The order also allows the resumption of:
— small claims and traffic trials;
— juvenile dependency matters allowed under the Dependency Prioritization Plan, which strictly limits the cases each dependency courtroom may hear. Since dependency courts resumed operations on June 22, the vast majority of proceedings have been held remotely;
— certain unlawful detainer jury and non-jury trials, which resumed Monday;
— civil jury trials in preference cases under Code of Civil Procedure Section 36 that can be tried in compliance with social distancing, which resumed on Monday;
— non-jury trials in any other preference cases, which also resumed Monday;
— family law evidentiary proceedings, whether Family Code Section 217 hearings or trials, other than restraining order hearings, that may be completed within two court days.
Most civil trials are continued until January. All other civil non-jury trials will be allowed to resume on or after Nov. 16, the statement said.
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