At First Coast Criminal Defense, we are concerned with protecting the health of the people we serve. As the COVID pandemic continues and the number of cases has increased in the Jacksonville area, we find that it is necessary to take action to ensure that our clients and our loved ones are not placed at unnecessary risk. As such, our team has signed a petition filed by the Northeast Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers asking the Fourth Circuit Judicial Court to implement safety protocols amid the ongoing COVID pandemic.
The petition notes that without such precautions in place, those required to be in courtrooms for various legal proceedings are at an increased risk of being exposed to the disease. This includes attorneys, defendants, judges, and various court employees. By implementing and enforcing precautionary measures, the Fourth Circuit can limit the number of people in the court and protect those required to appear, thereby slowing the spread and increasing safety.
A few of the recommendations include:
- Implementing a 30-day suspension of in-person hearings
- Only requiring in-person proceedings when exceptional circumstances exist, and in those cases, requiring masks to be worn in courtrooms
- Conducting pre-trial hearings via Zoom
- Enforcing mask mandates
- Allowing written pleas of not guilty to be filed
- Allowing arrangements to be waived
- Allowing attorneys to meet with incarcerated clients through video conferencing
We fully support these recommendations and hope to see an amicable resolution soon.
Our team recognizes that many may be wary of conducting face-to-face transactions right now. That is why we have signed the petition and are offering over-the-phone consultations.
If you or a loved one is involved in a criminal matter in Jacksonville, call us at (904) 474-3115 or contact us online to discuss your case.