Criminal Trial Continuances COVID-19 Pandemic
Under existing law, a criminal defendant must be brought to trial within 6 months after the date of the entry of a plea of not guilty. However, there are circumstances that exclude a period of time when computing the time within which a defendant must be brought to trial. These exclusions extend the length of time within which the defendant must be brought to trial.
The act permits the court to exclude a period of delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, not to exceed 6 months if the defendant is not in custody for the case pending a jury trial or not to exceed 3 months if the defendant is in custody for the case pending a jury trial, if certain considerations are satisfied. The court may grant only one continuance due to a period of delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The judicial department shall collect, report, and publish data concerning each continuance granted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The act requires the court that orders an exclusion of a period of delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to reconsider bond for an eligible defendant in custody awaiting trial.
A court shall not grant a continuance based on a delay caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on or after 5:01 p.m. on April 29, 2022.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)