Jailed criminal defendants will not be transferred to the Regional Justice Center for court hearings during the coronavirus outbreak, according to an order issued Wednesday.
Starting Friday, all inmates in Las Vegas with District Court hearings are expected to appear via video conferencing, the order signed by Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell stated.
“No defendants will be transported to a district court courtroom absent extremely extraordinary circumstances,” the order stated. Attorneys also were encouraged to make appearances “by alternante means,” and attorney meetings with jailed defendants “will be facilitated if needed.”
Anyone arrested in Las Vegas on a misdemeanor bench warrant could be released on his or her own recognizance, according to another in a series of judicial orders handed down this week in an effort to stem the coronavirus outbreak.
Given the ongoing public health concerns, those arrested on civil bench warrants or misdemeanor bench warrants that did not stem from charges of battery constituting domestic violence or driving under the influence would be free and ordered to appear in court in no sooner than 60 days.
The order signed by Chief Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum on Tuesday stated that the measure was “temporary” and an attempt to “limit unnecessary in-person contact.”
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Department officials said Wednesday that they were not releasing low-level offenders from the Clark County Detention Center to house arrest.
Late last week, Bell suspended all civil and criminal trials scheduled for the next 30 days, along with jury selection. The judge also ordered that all nonessential court hearings should be conducted by video or telephone or rescheduled.
Baucum followed suit, suspending all civil and criminal trials scheduled for the next 30 days and halted jury selection. Criminal, out-of-custody hearings, except for preliminary hearings, also would be continued for 60 days.