LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Starting Monday, Los Angeles County’s court system will expand its audio and video court appearances for hearings to all of its criminal courtrooms.

Hearings via audio and video provided by Webex that have been in place in 32 courtrooms throughout the county since April will expand to nearly two dozen courthouses Monday.

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Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Miguel Espinoza holds arraignments in his courtroom via video at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by MYUNG J. CHUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The hearings are conducted for defendants who are willing to waive their court appearances in order to appear via video from jail for arraignment.

“The court has prioritized and expedited remote appearance options throughout the nation’s largest trial court system to achieve social distancing and to provide safe, convenient alternatives to in-person court appearances during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile said in a statement released by the court last week.

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Brazile says the service will be available in all litigation types throughout the court by next month.

The presiding judge ordered the courts to substantially scale back operations in mid-March to comply with state and county public health directives to slow the spread of coronavirus. The court-wide expansion of audio and video appearances is intended to offer alternatives to in-person court appearances during the pandemic.

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