Riverside County Courts Update: April 3, 2020

Good afternoon!

Welcome to the Riverside County Criminal Defense Bar Association.  As of today, we are up to 109 members in our fledgling organization.  Every now and again we’ll be sending out emails to keep everyone updated, but they will be a bit more frequent than normal in these highly fluid and unusual times.  If you want to unsubscribe from these emails you may do so by clicking “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of this e-mail, but we promise to make them important information.

Quick update on flow chart for Riverside Courts.  I was invited to the Riverside County justice partners meeting over the lunch hour today, and then spoke individually with Judge Molloy for a while afterwards.  Here is a brief flowchart of how things are going right now:

As of right now, there are only a limited number of cases being called or addressed by the court.

  1. In custody initial arraignments.
  2. Cases set for prelim that are within the original 60 day time waiver.
  3. Cases added on for bail motions.
  4. Cases added on for disposition in which the defendant will be getting out of custody.

The court’s main priority is keeping the number of people who have to come to court at the very bare minimum.  That includes our in custody clients.  No other matters are being heard.

ALL OTHER MATTERS will be automatically continued by the court.  While you may be worried about your calendars once this all ends, there is not enough clarity of even WHEN court will be opening up to warrant the hassle of doing 1050s for cases that do not have a prelim set.  You do not need to worry about filing a continuance or 1050 even for initial out of custody arraignments and the court is not issuing bench warrants. 

A plan is being developed to hopefully allow defense counsel very brief video conferencing access to our clients so we can obtain an oral 977 waiver if we have not been able to do so.  We will know more about that next week, but it may allow for video conferencing in from home offices if we set it up the day before. 

Longer term solutions to have video conferencing available to meet with clients will be explored but no solutions yet on that front.

Additional procedures:

If you have spoken to your client and they have authorized you to appear 977, there is a new form available for you to eSubmit with the court that makes that representation.  It is on the court website or you can download from us here.

If you have one of the following:

  • A prelim that is set, but is going to continue by stipulation;
  • A bail motion that is set AND the DA is stipulating to OR release;

…then the procedure is to eSubmit the stipulation (preferably ASAP, but before 3:30 PM the prior day,) AND send a copy also via email to the respective Judge.   In the email title, put “STIP” and the date of the scheduled hearing (NOT the date you are continuing it to.)

               For HOJ:   BernardSchwartz@riverside.courts.ca.gov

               For SW:  Mark.Mandio@riverside.courts.ca.gov

               For Indio:  Burke.Strunsky@riverside.courts.ca.gov

Judge Molloy wanted to emphasize that the court is not trying to place anyone in danger, and to make as few people (defendants included) have to come to court as possible.  Phone conferencing is available for all matters, you just need to coordinate with the individual departments.

Will update you more next week, and if you have a particular concern please let me know so we can try to address it next week.

Graham Donath, President
Riverside County Criminal Defense Bar Association

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