New! Episode 43: Sacramento County’s Criminal Justice System Successfully Continues Jury Trials During COVID-19

Description: Discussion on the success the local criminal justice system has had in holding jury trials in the age of the pandemic.  Guests are Sacramento Superior Court Presiding Judge Russell Hom, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, Chief Assistant Public Defender Amanda Benson.

Show Notes:  A brief timeline/explanation of the COVID-19 Emergency Court Orders was provided.

March 19, 2020 – Sacramento County Issues Public Health Order

March 20, 2020 – Sacramento Superior Court orders temporary court closures

March 23, 2020 – Sacramento California Supreme Court Justice Cantil-Sakauye issues a statewide court order suspending all jury trials for 60 days

May 26, 2020 – Sacramento Superior Court resumed two criminal jury trials that were suspended due to court closure

June 15, 2020 – Sacramento Superior Court resumes jury trials

Guests share what their organizations were doing behind the scenes – both individually and working together – to prepare to operate under the first Court Order on March 20, 2020 and second Court Order on March 23, 2020.  This includes what to do about bail, in-custody defendants time rights, filing news cases, collaboration involved in developing process, etc.

They then discuss the current state of court operations and how they are successfully resuming jury trials while following COVID-19 safety precautions at the courthouse.  The group shares how their offices worked individually and together to plan and implement necessary changes.

They address some of the challenges of holding jury trials during COVID-19, and some positive aspects that came about with this new way of operating.

They reflect on why they think Sacramento County has been able to conduct so many trials under these unprecedented circumstances as well as some ideas of how to improve the COVID-19 justice system even further.

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