LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Superior Court of Los Angeles County began scaling back operations Monday amid a memo obtained by CNN that all criminal and civil trials in L.A. County Superior Court will be suspended through the end of the month.
“Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, there will be a suspension of all jury trials, both those currently in progress, as well as those pending commencement, through March 30th. This notification applies to jury trials only,” the memo reads, according to CNN, which cited Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson Josh Rubenstein as confirming its contents.
Officer Rosario Cervantes of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section confirmed to City News Service that a memo was issued, but she would not confirm its contents.
The court did not confirm the suspension of trials on its website. However, the court Monday tweeted out that jurors and potential jurors age 65 and older do not need to report to court, nor do those with medical issues.
“As the largest trial court in the nation, the Superior Court of Los Angeles County is methodically scaling back non-essential court operations as part of a phased approach,” Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile said in a statement Sunday.
Over the weekend, Brazile notified the judges of that no new jurors will be summoned for any civil or criminal jury trials for the next 30 days and the trial judge for any jury or non-jury trial in session may exercise his or her discretion to either continue the trial or declare a mistrial.
Defendants are still required to appear as scheduled and some hearings and trials underway will continue if the responsible judge chooses to do so rather than rescheduling. A sheriff’s department spokeswoman Monday said deputies are transporting inmates to court as usual in compliance with court orders.
This followed a request Friday Brazile of the Los Angeles County Superior Court system, who called for a 30-day delay of all new civil jury trials. He also said criminal jury trials should be pushed back by 30 days, in cases where the defendants have agreed to the delay.
However, Brazile made it clear Friday that he did not have the authority to order such measures.
Among the cases affected by the delay is the murder trial of New York real estate scion Robert Durst, where testimony was scheduled to resume Monday but has now been pushed back to April 6.
Also Friday, it was announced that all federal courts in L.A., Santa Ana and Riverside would remain open for business, but jury duty and criminal and civil trials would be delayed until April 13, or as otherwise ordered.
On Sunday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors announced it would close all its county building beginning on Monday.
“We need to do all we can to protect the public and our employees in the midst of this expanding public health crisis,” Board of Supervisors Chair Kathryn Barger said in a statement. “Our departments will continue to provide essential services to our residents, but it is prudent to limit public access to our facilities at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and urge the public to follow the guidance of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)