By Derrick Tat
FRESNO – COVID-19, rampaging through the country and in particular the prisons and jails, continues to play havoc with court calendars here in Fresno County Superior Court.
Thursday, for instance, in Dept. 12, another bunch of cases were bumped because the defendants did not show up because of the pandemic.
About three cases in the afternoon were pushed over to next week because defendants in custody can’t come to the courts because they are following the COVID-19 quarantine policy. They have to be in quarantine for two weeks before they can appear in court.
This is happening in many cases, causing the court calendar to be constantly backed up.
With the increase of COVID-19 cases over the past few months, policies are getting stricter. Attorneys and judges mainly appear through Zoom to handle cases instead of being there in person, as many lawyers, especially defense lawyers, were doing even in mid-summer.
These virus delays are having a cumulative effect. Courtrooms—despite precautions put in place to limit the number of people in the court—are often jammed. On some days there the court docket has more than 100 cases to adjudicate.
Falling behind on these court calendars causes stress on staff, judges, lawyers and defendants, especially when a morning calendar goes into the lunch hour. Judges want to rush through each case without wasting unnecessary time.
The stress shows on the faces of defendants, who have to wait—not knowing when they will be called later, just to find out that they will have to come back to court a week or a month later.
It even is taking its toll on court-mandated classes—DUI related alcohol or substance abuse courses, or classes dealing with domestic violence cases.
Derrick Tat is a recent graduate from San Jose State University majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Business. He is born and raised in San Francisco, CA.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: