17 Mar PD COVID-19 Update
“I am fiercely advocating for the speedy release of clients from custody as a result of the current COVID-19 health crisis. I am in ongoing communications with the Sheriff, District Attorney, City Attorney, and the Supervising Judge of the Criminal Court regarding releasing pretrial and sentenced inmates in order to promote the health of our clients and others. I have urged the Sheriff to use his broad authority to release inmates to promote social distancing and public health. And while I still believe there’s more that can be done, I am absolutely appreciative of the collaboration and hard work of my justice partners in these very trying and difficult times.
Social distancing and proper hygiene are our best tools to fight COVID-19. Our incarcerated brothers and sisters, many of them held pre-trial and presumed innocent, should have the same protection afforded the rest of the community in these challenging times. We are fighting for the rights of their wellbeing and the wellbeing of our staff.
In order to create an environment conducive to social distancing in the Public Defender’s Office, I have directed that effective immediately, paralegals, social workers and investigators telework, and attorneys may telework for the following three days. I am exploring broader telework options, in adherence to County guidelines, to promote responsible social distancing and to protect the health of employees while continuing to zealously advocate for clients.
I am deeply grateful for and proud of every member of the Public Defender’s Office for their dedication to our clients, each other and our mission.”