An Update On COVID-19 From Powers Law, P.C.
The first thing I want to address in this uncertain climate is the COVID-19 concerns our clients have, related to the justice system New York State. We were given an order by the chief judge in Suffolk County that personal appearances for the foreseeable future are not necessary. Anyone with a court appearance that is not an emergency will have their appearance waived and we will be given a new court date by the court.
Personally, I will be staying in touch with some court personnel and monitoring any and all executive orders and court edicts as they pertain to my client’s appearances or rights under our New York State laws. I have had discussions with judges about what the time requirement is, as it pertains to my client’s rights to be prosecuted in a timely fashion. I have not heard that my client’s right to be prosecuted within a certain timeframe has been halted. I am petitioning some of the prosecutors to get me discovery material in light of the new law and we will continue to monitor that specific issue on behalf of our criminal clients.
The court is extending orders of protection for a certain period of time automatically to avoid court appearances. We are advising our clients who currently have Family Court orders of protection to abide by those orders until further notice. Some clients have called with a concern about having to complete community service, complete evaluations, and abide by any treatment provisions in their orders from the court.
In New York, the community service division is no longer taking clients. I will address those issues with the prosecutor to see if we can get credit for the time that we would have been completing community service. None of that has been addressed; it is a secondary issue right now. Group meetings for any diversion court, mental health court, or any dependency court where clients have been mandated to go to group meetings, have been canceled.
I am asking, on a human level, for any of my clients who are having trouble with how this is affecting their life to please give my office a call. If a placement is not taking groups or individuals, I will do my best to find something else for anyone who has a dependency issue and needs help. The urge to use and the need to escape is coming to the forefront right now and people’s networks aren’t available. I implore my clients to reach out to me, even to just have a conversation. If I can, I will try to find somewhere to get the necessary help for you immediately. I am also going to speak with the prosecutor and try to get whatever credit we can, when court is back in session, for the time that we missed.
We will set up phone appointments, instead of coming to see me, so that we’re not putting anyone in any jeopardy of contracting the virus. We are, however, open for business and continue to serve the community.
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