LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The coronavirus is leading to some complications in court. Social distancing is an issue there, too. Judges now have to deal with changes to how they process accused criminals.
13 Investigates has been exposing the revolving door for criminals. Suspects get arrested… then the court turns them back on the street often within hours. On Tuesday, Clark County Justice court issued orders to make sure the wheels of justice continue turning, but at a slower pace to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
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Judge Joe Bonaventure says judicial discretion is very important.
"I like the ability to review all of these new arrests and determine who should be released."
But in many cases, that review will be on hold now as more people will be out of jail and hearings will be delayed much longer.
In Las Vegas Justice Court, beginning Thursday or soon after, many criminal in-custody hearings will be conducted by video.
Traffic-related arrests will not get court dates until after May 15.
The court says all criminal out-of-custody hearings, except for prelims, are on hold for 60 days.
Any person arrested subject to an own recognizance or O.R. release -- meaning they don't have to post bail -- won't return to court for 60 days.
"In Las Vegas, we do have certain automatic releases," says Judge Bonaventure.
Most misdemeanors qualify for administrative O.R. release, meaning they don't even appear before a judge. As our investigation showed, that includes misdemeanor DUI arrests.
Essential case types and hearings will continue to be heard in courtrooms. That includes in-custody criminal matters, civil protection orders, evictions, unlawful towing and some others we've listed on our website.
All civil and criminal jury trials in Las Vegas Justice court scheduled for the next 30 days will be rescheduled as the court calendar allows. If you've been summonsed as a juror, you do not need to appear.