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When the year 2020 started it was like any other year. The court’s were bustling. Cases were being filed and heard. Then March 2020 COVID19 changed the world and the courts. The Federal court’s have been no exception. The Federal courts while fewer than state courts have been impacted as well. The Federal courts in California include the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Central, Northern, Southern, and Eastern District Court. Each District is then broken up into additional Federal Courthouses.
On September 21, 2020, Ms. Rodriguez, with Rodriguez Law Group, Inc. attended an in person court hearing at the Central District Santa Ana courthouse. It was a Federal criminal arraignment. Each district courthouse and courtroom is going to be a different experience, this blog is a guide as for what to expect. Prior to going Ms. Rodriguez prepared herself by making sure she had several masks with her, hand sanitizer, gloves, and a throw away purse. She also intentionally did not bring in with her what she normally would (including her laptop, laptop bag, or anything she didn’t absolutely need). She made sure that she had as little with her to get through security as possible.
This was a morning hearing at 8:30am. Upon arrival the first thing Ms. Rodriguez noted that there was no one in line nor waiting to get through security. All in all after the experience it was clear there were more court personnel in the building than there were parties or attorneys. In total there were less than 25 people in the entire building with only one courtroom operating in person hearings. All other matters are being handled telephonically and by video. More than half of the people in the courtroom were U.S. Marshalls and U.S. Deputies.
Unlike state court due to only two hearings taking place in the entire building family and friends were permitted to attend the hearings. While this was a morning hearing, it was also an in custody matter, and the bus/client in custody did not arrive at the courthouse until 10am. At that time, I then spoke with the client in lock up. After which the court case was called in the courtroom. The judge was behind glass. The deput, court clerk, and all court personnel were behind their own glass windows. The prosecutor, pretrial sentencing representative, etc. were all on video conference. Myself and my client were in the courtroom along with the U.S. Marshall/Deputies. Everyone had masks.
The court did an excellent job following all CDC guidelines but with that much personnel to help so few individuals in the courthouse how could they not?
About Rodriguez Law Group, Inc.
Rodriguez Law Group, Inc. is a local boutique, San Gabriel, CA law firm with decades of experience helping clients remedy past wrong doings against individuals and corporate entities. Our law firm offers aggressive, yet affordable legal counsel to clients throughout Southern California, including San Gabriel, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Westlake, Santa Barbara, and their surrounding areas.
If you are facing foreclosure, criminal charges, personal injury, bankruptcy, or a civil despute, it is essential to hire a powerful attorney to be your voice in the courtroom or at the negotiating table. Experience matters.