By Sofia Leguria
SACRAMENTO, CA – Sacramento County Superior Court Department 84 announced late this week that—after several years of pandemic closure and using only Zoom online appearances—it would be returning to an in-person court setting.
Some attorneys were visibly very confused when asked to come to court in person to appear for their matters, and make sure their clients were there with them.
The Department 84 proceedings are now going to be held in Dept. 2 in person starting June 1, 2022.
Many attorneys for the past few years have only been appearing to court via Zoom and have adjusted their work schedules to do so.
Returning to court is a doable ask for the district attorneys and public defenders who are located kitty corner to the main downtown courthouse.
However, for private counsel, making appearances in person will be more difficult on their schedules because they also have clients in different counties, some complained.
Zoom appearances have given more people access to hire their own attorneys even if they are located in a different area, and Zoom has given those accused of crimes the opportunity to appear in court from their homes or on their lunch break at work.
Observers have suggested, when the court does start requiring in-person appearances there will be more failures to appear by the people, solely because for some it is incredibly difficult to get themselves to a courtroom on time or at all.
Another hurdle that played out in court this week in Sacramento is that when “Mak” (not his real name) made his plea he had to give special permission to allow for another judge to sentence him.
When you submit a plea you are granted the right to have the same judge who you gave your plea to also give you your sentence.
Dept. 84 online right now handles both traffic court and criminal court matters so when “Mak” goes to get his sentence from traffic court he will no longer see the same judge.
This is just an extra step that has to be explained and approved by both parties.