Queens Daily Eagle: Public defenders sue state to stop in-person criminal proceedings during COVID crisis
“Until Monday, arraignments, case conferences and other criminal court proceedings were handled remotely, with defendants appearing by video conference since March.
The plaintiffs include The Legal Aid Society, Queens Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, The Bronx Defenders, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and New York county Defender Service. The organizations, which represent low-income defendants in criminal court, say they have “at least hundreds of clients and staff members” with medical conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19.
These clients, the majority of whom are people of color, “face the tragic and illegal choice between their fundamental right to participate in their own cases and their health and safety,” the lawsuit states.”
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