How Is the Omicron Variant Affecting Court Cases in Connecticut?

Posted by Posted on in Criminal Law
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 352
  • 0 Comments
  • Subscribe to this entry

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1549604996.jpgAs the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, large numbers of people throughout the United States are still becoming ill. To protect public safety as much as possible, government institutions, including the court system, are continuing to take steps to minimize the potential spread of infections. These measures may affect both criminal and civil cases, and those who are involved in these matters will want to understand how they may be affected and how they can make sure their rights will be protected during legal proceedings.

Court Closures and Options for Remote Courtroom Technology in Connecticut

While state and federal courts in Connecticut have implemented measures meant to protect people’s safety, they have been required to make repeated changes to address potential risks. Most recently, the spread of the highly-infectious Omicron variant of Covid has led the U.S. District Court of Connecticut to pause all jury trials and jury selections until at least February 1, 2022. While this will affect cases heard in federal courts, state courts may be able to continue operating during this time.

As courts have continued to address the risks to people’s health and safety, they have implemented a variety of measures allowing for certain proceedings to be conducted remotely. The Connecticut Judicial Branch has made extensive use of remote technology, and it now has 145 Remote Justice Courtrooms that are used in criminal and civil cases. In some cases, this has improved efficiency, and it has allowed certain types of proceedings to be completed more quickly and easily. 

In criminal cases, many pre-trial conferences are now conducted remotely, although these conferences may be held in-person if necessary, including when requested by a defense attorney or when a defendant’s physical presence in the courtroom is required. Remote technology has also been beneficial in cases where first-time offenders participate in diversionary programs or where incarcerated defendants are able to resolve a case through a plea bargain. However, courts recognize that in-person proceedings are sometimes necessary to protect the rights of a defendant or others involved in a case. By conducting in-person jury trials, courts ensure that defendants’ attorneys are able to make effective arguments, gauge the responses of jurors, and questions witnesses correctly. 

Contact Our Hartford Criminal Law Attorney

While courts are currently focused on protecting the safety of those involved in legal proceedings, it is also important to make sure the rights of defendants will be protected during a criminal case. At Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we work to ensure that our clients will be able to properly address and defend against criminal charges. We can help determine whether certain matters may be conducted remotely, but we will also request in-person proceedings when necessary. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help you navigate the ever-changing legal system and determine the best strategy for resolving your case successfully. Contact our Connecticut criminal defense lawyer today at 860-290-8690 to set up a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.law.com/ctlawtribune/2022/01/05/more-federal-courts-abandon-in-person-operations-amid-omicron-spike-heres-where-391-64418/?slreturn=20220014131612

https://www.ctd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/22-1_COVID-19-Order-Re-Jury-Selections-Trials.pdf

https://www.ctbar.org/docs/default-source/publications/connecticut-lawyer/ctl-vol-32/2-novdec-2021/ctl-novdec-21---remote-technology-is-here-to-stay.pdf?sfvrsn=bb94f7b1_4

Logo Image 50 Founders Plaza
East Hartford, CT 06108
Phone: 860-290-8690
Fax: 860-290-8697
We are available by appointment during evening and weekend hours, if necessary.

Facebook   Twitter   Our Blog