LA County to Release Some Awaiting Trial Dates as a Health Precaution

If you were arrested, you would have the option of paying bail and waiting trial at home. If you can’t pay bail, you sit in prison. Now that prison overcrowding is seen as a ticking time bomb on the spread of the virus, some people have been given an open door to wait for trial without custody.

Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile today announced an expedited court process to release an agreed-upon list of pretrial inmates being held in jail before trial. Based upon the Justice Partners’ best effort to balance the public health needs of the jail population and the public safety needs of the community, they have created a stipulated list of persons to be released by the Court.

The prosecution and defense will bring a joint motion to the court for an order to release the inmates on the stipulated list. The agreed-upon people will not be brought to court for a hearing. Instead, the release will be effective upon review and execution of multiple orders by the Supervising Judge of Criminal, Sam Ohta.

The list of people subject to release was vetted and agreed upon by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office; Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office; Los Angeles County Alternate Public Defender’s Office; and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The parties collaborated and reached a stipulated agreement on an efficient process for the release of pretrial defendants.

The parties reached the agreement after receiving a COVID-19-related advisory recommendation on criminal procedures issued by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye on March 20, 2020.

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