Miami-Dade Courts Work To Safely Re-Open After Shut Downs
Posted on October 15, 2020 11:00 AM EST
Individuals charged with both felonies and misdemeanors have been on a huge timeout since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Miami-Dade County back in March. The Miami-Dade CourtHOUSES have been handling cases through Zoom, but there have not been any jury trials. As the coronavirus numbers continue to get better and the government restrictions are eased, the courts are anxiously waiting for things to get back to normal.
The seven-month delay in holding jury trials has caused a large backlog in cases. Defendants in Miami-Dade County will eventually reap the benefits of the backlog. As long as the case is not that serious or doesn't involve a violent crime, the State Attorney's Office and judges will eventually have to make a more than reasonable plea offer or even dismiss cases to prevent bloated dockets. This of course has not occurred as of yet. In the opinion of the criminal defense lawyers at DMT, the time will come when jury trials resume in Miami. Bloated dockets will force the judges and the state to trim the fat.
We have no idea when jury trial will begin to take place in Miami. The administrative judges are shooting for October. All that is dependent on the number of news cases of COVID-19 and whether we get a second wave. Other jurisdictions in Florida have begun to conduct jury trials. However, Miami is a different animal in many respects.
Miami was one of the hardest-hit counties for COVID-19 cases in Florida. Miami also has the largest population in the state as well as the most criminal cases. The main Miami-Dade courthouse is old and cramped and ripe for the transfer of this virus. All these factors could lead to delays in the courthouse.
Miami-Dade County has created a task force of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and health officials to figure out a plan for resuming jury trials. The trial lawyers at DMT believe this backlog will benefit their clients. The backlog in trial juries will certainly affect our ability to close out cases quickly and efficiently with ridiculous plea offers and dismissals. If you have an open case in Miami-Dade County, speak with one of the criminal lawyers at DMT to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic might effect your case.