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LAS Decries Ruling to Resume In-Person Criminal Court Proceedings

The Legal Aid Society slammed a federal judge’s ruling on Tuesday that opens the door for in-person proceedings to resume in New York City courts. U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr.’s ruling denied a preliminary injunction to halt the courts’ reopening until the Office of Court Administration (OCA) resolved COVID-19 health policies to administer court proceedings.

Legal Aid and partner defender groups said in a statement that the decision would put innumerable New Yorkers at risk, and particularly impact low-income clients of color and people with disabilities.

“The decision by the Southern District of New York to allow this unlawful plan to continue violates our clients’ rights and exposes the public to unnecessary risk,” the statement said. “We will explore the options available to prevent further harm . . . We are disappointed that the Southern District of New York allowed OCA to continue down this reckless road.”