Public Defender: Push Back More Misdemeanor Court Cases

Maryland Public Defender Paul DeWolfe has called on the Judiciary to delay more cases, due to COVID concerns.

The Public Defender has issued a letter to Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera, arguing that the State’s return to heightened restrictions due to coronavirus spread should also trigger a delay in a wide swath of District Court proceedings.

The request follows a Judiciary ruling that a variety of jury trials be postponed for similar reasons.

From coverage in the Baltimore Sun:

That order limited felony proceedings in circuit courts, but has allowed misdemeanor criminal cases in district court — which don’t involve juries — to continue in person. Monday, Public Defender Paul DeWolfe called for the postponement of district court hearings that do not involve an incarcerated defendant or an allegation of domestic violence.

“Your orders are being interpreted inexplicably to allow for District Courts to continue all criminal proceedings in person, despite these dockets posing among the greatest COVID risks and the least urgency,” DeWolfe wrote in his letter to Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera.

Read the full letter from the Baltimore Sun media hub.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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