Via email from Jason.
Apparently there is a COVID-19 exemption to the Bill of Rights. At least a judge found one. I just looked at my copy of the BoR and didn’t find it. But I guess Federal Judges just have better eyesight than I do. Here is what he said:
Given the significant number of identified and projected cases of COVID-19 in this
District and the severity of risk posed to the public, and given the above public health
recommendations from local public health authorities, it is hereby ORDERED that, effective
Monday, March 9, 2020:
1) All civil and criminal matters scheduled for an in-Court appearance before any district or magistrate judge in the Seattle or Tacoma Courthouses, including any associated
deadlines, are CONTINUED pending further Order of the Court;
2) All grand jury proceedings in this District are CONTINUED pending further Order of the Court;
3) With regard to criminal matters, due to the Court’s reduced ability to obtain an adequate spectrum of jurors and the effect of the above public health
recommendations on the availability of counsel and Court staff to be present in the
courtroom, the time period of the continuances implemented by this General Order
will be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act, as the Court specifically finds that the
ends of justice served by ordering the continuances outweigh the best interests of the public and any defendant’s right to a speedy trial, pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
4) Case-by-case exceptions to the continuances provided herein may be ordered for nonjury matters at the discretion of the Court after consultation with counsel;
5) This Order does not affect the Court’s consideration of civil or criminal motions that can be resolved without oral argument.
Here is the clause in Federal Law he refers to:
A) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any judge on his own motion or at the request of the defendant or his counsel or at the request of the attorney for the Government, if the judge granted such continuance on the basis of his findings that the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial. No such period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by the court in accordance with this paragraph shall be excludable under this subsection unless the court sets forth, in the record of the case, either orally or in writing, its reasons for finding that the ends of justice served by the granting of such continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.
I understand the practical matters involved. And I’m not sure I disagree with the action taken. But it does worry me that such precedence will be misused in the future.
How many times have we heard about “The Gun Violence Epidemic”?
Fill in the dots as appropriate.