Arizona Legal Proceedings Changing Due To The Coronavirus

By Greg Hahne
Published: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 5:26pm
Updated: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 9:23pm
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The coronavirus has had a major effect on court proceedings. A virtual roundtable discussion held Wednesday featured prosecutors from across the country.

The discussion was hosted by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

In Maricopa County, grand juries were suspended in March, forcing the county to choose which cases get prioritized. Usually it’s the violent offenders.

Allister Adel is the Maricopa County attorney. She says the court's population has dropped by 30%.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean someone’s getting a free pass or immunity. We’re still going to prosecute people when we’re back in. But it’s going to have to be a measured approach when we do this,” Adel said.

But even with the challenges, the lockdown has opened up avenues for improvements. Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark talked about the increased use of technology.

“It has forced us to move into the 21st century where our courts were not there, and I can tell you my office wasn’t there as well because of funding. It also has helped us to be paperless. This has forced my office to do it and I’ve been dying to do it," Clark said.

Adel and Clark both say the techniques their offices have been forced to adopt during the pandemic will help improve their operations once everything is back to normal.

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