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NEWS

Short Update: Concerns over Covid-19 impact on US justice system

FairTrialsAdmin - June 5, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Delayed or accelerated proceedings, Prisoner releases, Access to a lawyer, Remote Justice

Judges, prosecutors and public defenders in Washington state (US) are worried about the (long term) impact of COVID-19 on the justice system. They are concerned by the delays caused by the pandemic, with jury trials suspended until at least July 31. Hearing criminal cases, where someone’s freedom is at stake, will be the priority. Justice actors also expressed concerns about video hearings which put the rights of accused people at risk. Lawyers also highlighted the difficulty to talk privately with their detained client, noting that it could up to two weeks for lawyers to have an opportunity to talk confidentially with their clients. Finally, despite some efforts to reduce the jail population, many people remain in detention, the vast majority being held pre-trial while they are still presumed innocent. 

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information please email us at [email protected].  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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