Politico: Public defenders raise civil rights concerns as more court proceedings move online

“But while the expansion of remotely-administered justice in New York’s criminal courts is seen by many as an important measure amid public health concerns, it is raising civil rights concerns as in-person appearances are crucial to the criminal justice process.

“It creates this barrier to representation,” said Ilona Coleman, legal director of the Bronx Defenders’ Criminal Defense Practice. “This is sort of unfortunately the situation we’re in, but I could see this being a problem.”

The memo, dated March 26, presents a two-step procedure for emergency applications along with actions to drastically reduce in-person appearances, where possible.

Attorneys must request that an essential matter — including bail applications and resentencing for incarcerated defendants — be scheduled, mostly by video, with a county court.”

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