Justice Department Proposes Video Hearings and Delayed Proceedings to Cope With Pandemic

By Elliot Setzer
Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 11:30 AM

In response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Justice Department submitted draft legislation last week asking Congress to implement proposals including allowing judges to toll statutes of limitations during emergencies and relaxing requirements of the Speedy Trial Act. The department also proposes to allow video teleconferencing for preliminary hearings, stating that this would “ensure that defendants are able to access courts shortly after their arrest.”

Due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, the Justice Department recommends that the Bureau of Prisons have the discretion to expand the use of home confinement for inmates. The draft legislation would also expand the executive branch's powers over asylum law, exempting immigrants from eligibility for asylum if they are infected with COVID-19 or some other infectious diseases, and to those “subject to a presidential proclamation suspending and limiting the entry of aliens into the United States.”

You can read the proposal here and below: