Rise in COVID cases has lawyers calling for return to virtual court hearings

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Criminal defense lawyers in Florida are calling for a return to virtual hearings amid the rise in coronavirus cases in the state.

In a press release, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) urged all courts in the state to return to virtual court for non-essential hearings, saying the use of Zoom could be both more efficient and safer.

“We are extremely concerned about the uptick in positive coronavirus cases throughout the State. FACDL is concerned that if proactive steps are not taken now, more severe measures will be required in the future and will result in further significant adverse due process implications,” said Jude M. Faccidomo, President of the
group.

Faccidomo goes on to say that by returning to Zoom proceedings on all matters that do not constitutionally require in-person appearances, the court limits the personnel in the respective courthouses, which is safer for everyone.

Florida health officials say the number of virus cases in Florida rose by about 8,000 compared with the week before, for a total of 23,747 new cases, the state Department of Health reported Friday.

New cases of the coronavirus have been on the rise in Florida over the past month. The rate of positive tests was 7.8% last week after trending at about 4% positivity in recent weeks.

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