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The Lawyer Thread Where We Stop Ruining Other Threads


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2 hours ago, The_Man said:

To him, the law at least holds out the promise of intellectually stimulating work with the chance of positively impacting society. And it seems like there could be some potential for translation or otherwise putting his language skills to use.

Then he should absolutely follow the money within reason. To be sure, the top public interest jobs are also selective, but he’d have opportunities from any T6 or T14 school.   
 

He should understand the realities of big firm work (and I can only really speak to litigation). The issues are only fitfully intellectually stimulating. For instance, I worked on an appellate brief last year. We got our decision last week, and we won. And we won based on the definition of the word “extension.”  I could have made substantively the same argument in 8th grade. To be sure, there were a bunch of procedural and justiciability issues to figure out as well. And I had to convince our regulatory partner to focus on what he deemed a “too simple” argument. But it wasn’t much of an intellectual exercise. 
 

And most of the substantive good you do in the world is advancing one corporations interest as opposed to another corporation or industry’s interest. If you’re lucky, you’ll think you client is right on the law and less morally repugnant.  And if you’re really lucky, you might join a firm that lets you have credit for a few weeks devoted to pro bono. But that’s very much something that takes a back seat to paying work. 

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1 hour ago, Ramsay Hunt Experience said:

Then he should absolutely follow the money within reason. To be sure, the top public interest jobs are also selective, but he’d have opportunities from any T6 or T14 school.   
 

He should understand the realities of big firm work (and I can only really speak to litigation). The issues are only fitfully intellectually stimulating. For instance, I worked on an appellate brief last year. We got our decision last week, and we won. And we won based on the definition of the word “extension.”  I could have made substantively the same argument in 8th grade. To be sure, there were a bunch of procedural and justiciability issues to figure out as well. And I had to convince our regulatory partner to focus on what he deemed a “too simple” argument. But it wasn’t much of an intellectual exercise. 
 

And most of the substantive good you do in the world is advancing one corporations interest as opposed to another corporation or industry’s interest. If you’re lucky, you’ll think you client is right on the law and less morally repugnant.  And if you’re really lucky, you might join a firm that lets you have credit for a few weeks devoted to pro bono. But that’s very much something that takes a back seat to paying work. 

A reasonable take.  Which is why I didn't select a career based on what would be most personally rewarding or gratifying.  My career is just a means to an and, and fortunately something I don't totally hate, I find intellectually stimulating at times, and downright exciting at other times. But I get my really happiness outside the office.

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I'd echo most of what's been said, but would point out that going straight from college to law school is a mistake.  Take one year, or even six months, to work at a firm and understand what you are getting yourself into for a lifetime.  Lawyers are famously depressed, addicted, suicidal, and unsatisfied with their jobs as a group.  This is mostly because they imagine a glamorous, intellectually stimulating life of wealth and admiration.  The actual job has moments of that from time to time, but the reality can be (un)sobering.

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2 hours ago, Thorn said:

I'd echo most of what's been said, but would point out that going straight from college to law school is a mistake.  Take one year, or even six months, to work at a firm and understand what you are getting yourself into for a lifetime.  Lawyers are famously depressed, addicted, suicidal, and unsatisfied with their jobs as a group.  This is mostly because they imagine a glamorous, intellectually stimulating life of wealth and admiration.  The actual job has moments of that from time to time, but the reality can be (un)sobering.

Amen. When I interview the kids who never had a real job and went right through versus the ones who worked for a living at least for a year or two in between, there’s no comparison in terms of maturity and professionalism. 

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I turned down rides to go sticker at a T-14 with a 171. Then I got into a car accident over winter break of my 2L year, was over prescribed opiates by the student health center and was invited to take a year off during first semester of 3L. Never finished and 150k of loans later...

Unless he needs T-6 for clerking opportunities, take the money and run. #### happens.

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Do any of you attorneys work as counsel for universities?

A position is being advertised near me which I'm definitely interested. It looks like a junior level position, "reports to the Chief University counsel". 

How difficult is it to get into the education field in adminstration, generally? 

The school is pretty well known, around 10,000 students in a small (but booming) City. State school (but not THE state school). 

I'll apply, if for no better reason than to check it out. I'd love to work for a University but have never done so.  20+ years in the federal government. 

Roughly, how competitive would one expect salary to be relative to federal workforce or private? I assume much less than one could make in private practice. 

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I sent a formal demand to Major League Baseball for the cost of my 2017 world series tickets and travel expenses,  with treble damages for violation of Washington and California consumer protection laws.   $7,500 total.   Threatened to institute a class action lawsuit if they don't pay me.  

Wonder if I'll get a response.

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On ‎2‎/‎4‎/‎2020 at 8:43 PM, krista4 said:

Egads, I'm so old that the LSAT was on a 48-point scale.  :bag: 

My information is a bit dated, but I was on the recruiting committee at Kirkland in the late 90s.  Assuming the top six you guys are referring to are still Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, Stanford, and NYU in some order, we did indeed have different thresholds for those schools.  IIRC, you could get a callback interview if you were in the top 1/3 of your class there.  At the next tier, if you were in the top 10%.  Then we had a couple of "local" schools that we'd interview some people from - U. of Illinois we'd bring you in if you were in the top 10 overall, and Chicago-Kent and Loyola if you were first or second in your class.  I might have the numbers slightly off, but there was a distinct difference in the first tier vs. the second, and then the second vs. anywhere else.  Also, we were very skeptical of Yalies because in K&E's experience they had often not turned out to be great lawyers.  So of course we'd interview them, but they needed to impress more than the those from other schools in the top six.  

Me too young lady, me too.

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On 2/3/2020 at 10:55 PM, krista4 said:

Doesn't matter for the overall point.

I get that you want to punish this person who's being a jerkface.  This just isn't the medium to do it.

*See me for other ways to make someone suffer.

Update:  her client has local counsel for litigation matters.  They brought him in since we were at an impasse.  He told his client I was right and that their corporate counsel shouldn’t be trying to revise state-specific contracts.  Elevator contractor sent email apologizing to my client with her copied.

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hey lawyer peeps - i have a quick question

I dont need an exact amount just a ball park figure

What can I expect to pay for setting up a will - been putting it off for some time and the wife and i talked it over last night

We each have our own 401K, I have an IRA, we both are on our mortgage, both have roths.  All these accounts have the beneficiaries of my stepson (25)and my daughter (14)

14 year old daughter.  - we would like my sister to be the guardian....

Any other info needed?  I live in southern NJ if that matters

 

TIA

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17 hours ago, belljr said:

hey lawyer peeps - i have a quick question

I dont need an exact amount just a ball park figure

What can I expect to pay for setting up a will - been putting it off for some time and the wife and i talked it over last night

We each have our own 401K, I have an IRA, we both are on our mortgage, both have roths.  All these accounts have the beneficiaries of my stepson (25)and my daughter (14)

14 year old daughter.  - we would like my sister to be the guardian....

Any other info needed?  I live in southern NJ if that matters

 

TIA

Around here (rural Western PA), you could probably both get wills and POAs for $500-600.  I'd guess NJ is a little more expensive.

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On 2/4/2020 at 12:21 PM, FreeBaGeL said:

Mortgage/trust question.

My wife and I are buying a vacation/rental home.  We want to do the mortgage in just one of our names, for discussion's sake let's say mine.  We have a trust setup in the case of our deaths, rather than a will.

As I understand it with the trust I have to put the mortgage in the trust's name, IE mortgage would go to "Mr and Mrs FreeBaGeL Family Trust".

How can I put the mortgage in just my name but at the same time assure that the property would go to my wife in the case of my death?

Not an attorney.  Talk to your bank where you take out the mortgage.  Not sure whether you can put the mortgage in your name if the property is in the name of the trust.  Let's assume the property & mortgage in your name only.   Do a deed reserving a life estate.   Mr. BaGel deeds to Mrs. BaGel reserving unto grantor a life estate.   If you die you just file a certified copy of death cert. & automatically goes to Mrs. BaGel.

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On 2/5/2020 at 9:51 AM, -fish- said:

You serious, Clark?

He really needs to watch this video. Did he go to Harvard law school in the 70s? Does his son consider a breach of contract between two giant software companies an important issue of the day?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMvARy0lBLE

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On 2/5/2020 at 7:08 AM, The_Man said:

Not to hijack my own semi-hijack of this thread, but I'll admit it's been a challenge giving him advice about what kind of career path to follow. He doesn't feel like he needs to get rich, just make a decent living, and do something that might help better society. All his friends are pursuing McKinsey and the other management consulting firms like the Holy Grail and he has zero interest in that. And he's not a software or engineering guy, or a math/quant finance guy.

CIA/NSA is out because of his political beliefs, State Dept. for the same reason now that it's been so degraded. Higher ed seems like the right fit to me, but he has zero interest in going for a PhD and knows the academic job market is a disaster. As is journalism. I guess if there's a field that most appeals to him, it's translation but we're not sure what kind of careers that offers. To him, the law at least holds out the promise of intellectually stimulating work with the chance of positively impacting society. And it seems like there could be some potential for translation or otherwise putting his language skills to use.

Then he should take a full ride somewhere and be a public defender in an area with a lower cost of living. 

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53 minutes ago, Yankee23Fan said:

So sitting in courthouses these days is.....fun.

Get a good case management software. I can be as productive sitting in the gallery waiting for my case as I can be in my office with one. 

 

ETA: I just realized you may be referring to the coronavirus and being around unsanitary people. 

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Corona
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On 12/17/2019 at 10:11 AM, thecatch said:

The article I’m reading about the hearing is pretty awesome too (Law360). Apparently the attorney hid in the stands for the first part of the hearing before standing up and announcing his presence. 

I am being interviewed by them today. People actually read their stuff? :unsure: 

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Question from a case I was on (jury duty) last week...

Defendant was charged with DDRD (drug delivery resulting in death - Fentanol laced heroin). There were 5 counts in the charge. The 1st (and I assume most serious) of these counts was "delivery". The rest were things like "conspiracy", etc. The defendant was obviously guilty and there was a mountain of circumstantial evidence, but one of the jury members refused to find the defendant guilty on the "delivery" count because there was no direct evidence. It was a frustrating 4 hours of deliberation with this guy refusing to listen to reason. We eventually were hung on that charge.

My question is, will this count be tried again? Or is being hung the same as a not-guilty charge and he gets off of this count?

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31 minutes ago, E-Z Glider said:

Question from a case I was on (jury duty) last week...

Defendant was charged with DDRD (drug delivery resulting in death - Fentanol laced heroin). There were 5 counts in the charge. The 1st (and I assume most serious) of these counts was "delivery". The rest were things like "conspiracy", etc. The defendant was obviously guilty and there was a mountain of circumstantial evidence, but one of the jury members refused to find the defendant guilty on the "delivery" count because there was no direct evidence. It was a frustrating 4 hours of deliberation with this guy refusing to listen to reason. We eventually were hung on that charge.

My question is, will this count be tried again? Or is being hung the same as a not-guilty charge and he gets off of this count?

Double jeopardy technically does not attach when the jury hangs on a count, so unless there's some weird rule in your jurisdiction that I don't know about the state could re-try him on that count and might consider doing so if the state learned that there was only one holdout. 

The above said, I suspect, since the defendant was convicted of four of the counts and will be sentenced without the benefit of a plea agreement, the state may be satisfied with his sentence and not go through the time, energy, and effort of re-trying him on just the one count. 

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12 minutes ago, Zow said:

Double jeopardy technically does not attach when the jury hangs on a count, so unless there's some weird rule in your jurisdiction that I don't know about the state could re-try him on that count and might consider doing so if the state learned that there was only one holdout. 

The above said, I suspect, since the defendant was convicted of four of the counts and will be sentenced without the benefit of a plea agreement, the state may be satisfied with his sentence and not go through the time, energy, and effort of re-trying him on just the one count. 

Hypothetically, how would they learn this info? Because I thought the juror was completely out of line. He admitted that he loved playing devils advocate and basically invented his own defense theory (that we weren’t even asked to consider) and then used that as his basis to find the defendant not guilty. It was bizarre and frustrating at the same time.

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3 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

 

Hypothetically, if the first count is a material requirement for other charges, could an enterprising defense attorney have those convictions tossed out? 

I don’t think so. The juror would accept that he (defendant) knew about the drugs (conspiracy) but he refused to accept that we had enough circumstantial evidence to convict of delivery.

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3 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

 

Hypothetically, if the first count is a material requirement for other charges, could an enterprising defense attorney have those convictions tossed out? 

I don’t think so. The juror would accept that he (defendant) knew about the drugs (conspiracy) but he refused to accept that we had enough circumstantial evidence to convict of delivery.

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1 hour ago, El Floppo said:

Full body condoms?

You seeing a change in terms of less non-essential personnel, etc?

The federal system sent out an email saying appear by phone if at all possible.

I had to be there this morning. Gloves everywhere. No one wants to touch anything. Those kids of things.  I'm guessing our state courts get shut down some time this week in some fashion. 

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1 hour ago, Walking Boot said:

 

Hypothetically, if the first count is a material requirement for other charges, could an enterprising defense attorney have those convictions tossed out? 

I don’t want to say it’s impossible as it would be really fact intensive and case specific, but probably not. 
 

Juries do sometimes give nonsensical verdicts and they usually aren’t disturbed. 

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1 hour ago, E-Z Glider said:

Hypothetically, how would they learn this info? Because I thought the juror was completely out of line. He admitted that he loved playing devils advocate and basically invented his own defense theory (that we weren’t even asked to consider) and then used that as his basis to find the defendant not guilty. It was bizarre and frustrating at the same time.

In my jurisdiction, the jury isn't supposed to tell us the breakdown of their impasse and is instructed not to. However, in my experience at least the foreperson would oftentimes just ignore the instruction and put it in the communication to the court advising of the impasse. Second, oftentimes jurors will wait around and informally speak with the attorneys afterwards and talk openly about the deliberations. Finally, in some circumstances the jury can be polled. 

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2 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

 

Gotcha. I think I saw it on an old LA LAW but didn't know how realistic it was. Jury acquitted on one charge that was the basis of the following charges, and the attorney argued if he wasn't guilty of the first charge, there's no way he could have done the others, so the jury messed up and the verdicts should be set aside. Can't remember the specifics, but like, in a murder case that was a shooting, if they didn't convict on a gun possession charge and an unlawful discharge of a firearm, could they then convict on the murder? I mean, the jury would have to then believe the defendant threw a bullet really hard through the other guy's skull. 

(assuming that there were no other mitigating elements that would otherwise lead to the first two charges returning not guilty, like permitted carry or justifiable discharge of the firearm)

I guess I could envision this scenario. It seems more likely that the jury finds somebody not guilty of a lesser included offense but guilty of the main offense. For example, it would be entirely nonsensical for the jury to convict somebody of first degree murder but find the person not guilty of second degree murder as a lesser included of the same nucleus of fact. As a defense attorney I'd definitely file something in that situation but it's not a situation I've encountered so I haven't done thorough research on it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Yankee23Fan said:

So who else is counsel to several non-profit organizations or just generally the attorney that is called by businesses that serve the general public and have large gatherings and/or events?  Because I am swamped with calls, questions, policies, etc.

I wasn’t involved, but my firm called an impromptu meeting of the lawyers with such clients to discuss these very things today. 
 

I, on the other hand, had a client claim he/she shouldn’t have to pay his/her bill b/c these are troubling times with the coronavirus. So I have that going for me...

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7 minutes ago, Walking Boot said:

 

Have you offered them an egg?

Thought about it, but then when I go to expense it as a cost for the case...

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3 hours ago, Walking Boot said:

 

Gotcha. I think I saw it on an old LA LAW but didn't know how realistic it was. Jury acquitted on one charge that was the basis of the following charges, and the attorney argued if he wasn't guilty of the first charge, there's no way he could have done the others, so the jury messed up and the verdicts should be set aside. Can't remember the specifics, but like, in a murder case that was a shooting, if they didn't convict on a gun possession charge and an unlawful discharge of a firearm, could they then convict on the murder? I mean, the jury would have to then believe the defendant threw a bullet really hard through the other guy's skull. 

(assuming that there were no other mitigating elements that would otherwise lead to the first two charges returning not guilty, like permitted carry or justifiable discharge of the firearm)

PA case law specifically recognizes and allows (or at least did 30 years ago when I was still doing criminal cases)  "compromise verdicts"--i.e., the jury felt bad for the defendant and delivered verdicts that are irreconcilable.

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3 hours ago, Yankee23Fan said:

So who else is counsel to several non-profit organizations or just generally the attorney that is called by businesses that serve the general public and have large gatherings and/or events?  Because I am swamped with calls, questions, policies, etc.

Not only cancelling/rescheduling but having to fight off the inevitable amateur lawyer who read the bylaws and insists that this meeting can't be moved because "I read the bylaws and it has to be held in the first quarter of the fiscal year!"

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26 minutes ago, -fish- said:

Not only cancelling/rescheduling but having to fight off the inevitable amateur lawyer who read the bylaws and insists that this meeting can't be moved because "I read the bylaws and it has to be held in the first quarter of the fiscal year!"

Love that guy.

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Has anyone advised a client that Covid-19 is a force majeure event excusing contractual performance?  I've seen some that specifically call out "public health" and even "plague" events, but absent some specific reference like that, it might be a tough call depending on what state you're in.  I guess if you have a particularly spiritual judge you could claim the virus is an Act of God.

 

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1 hour ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Has anyone advised a client that Covid-19 is a force majeure event excusing contractual performance?  I've seen some that specifically call out "public health" and even "plague" events, but absent some specific reference like that, it might be a tough call depending on what state you're in.  I guess if you have a particularly spiritual judge you could claim the virus is an Act of God.

 

Seems like a no brainer.  All you have to do is point out that the courts stopped having hearings.  

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3 hours ago, Angry Beavers said:

any rationale reason for lawfirms to be open at this point?

Yes. People don’t stop making bad decisions. 

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13 hours ago, -fish- said:

Seems like a no brainer.  All you have to do is point out that the courts stopped having hearings.  

I don't think the courts being closed will be a relevant factor in determining whether a force majeure clause applies - might be one consideration, but if party stops performing a significant obligation in a contractual relationship, it better have its ducks in a row. I would say most lawyers use boilerplate force majeure clauses, even on very large deals, and the language in those clauses is rarely a point of significant redlining.  I've had a few conversations  over the past week and always start with the contract language, because its far from standard.

I do think many commercial tenants are going to stop paying rent in the coming weeks and months due to being shut down.  I don't think landlords will be able to evict in this climate, nor would I advise it, but they may want to send default notices and the like because they're probably going to want to skip mortgage and tax payments for the same reasons.

The leasing area will probably work  itself out, but I'm also  wondering about the wide variety of ongoing contractual obligations where a party might be looking for an out and would decide strategically to declare a right to non-performance under a force majeure clause.

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13 hours ago, BassNBrew said:

How long do you expect courts to be closed?

Is the gov't doing the public a disservice by not coming up with a solution for a backup plan for justice?

In the criminal law arena, the constitution guarantees trial by jury for defendants facting >6 months in jail. Many jurisdictions allow for a trial by jury in other case by statute/law. I don't see a way to end around this. And, with the trial by jury right, the defendant has a right to a fair and impartial jury which usually means that dozens of people need to be called in for selection. 

With the above in mind, I do think it's okay and not a disservice to speedy trial rights or to victims' rights to delay trials provided the defendant is out of custody. The is a super unique time whereby the CDC has mandated that gatherings of >10 people be avoided. The courts are then in a tough spot but the continuance, again, to me is reasonable. Whether it gets hairy is in a situation where an in-custody defendant has demanded a speedy trial (thankfully, I'm fortunate enough to oddly not have a current client in this situation at the moment). What I'm seeing courts do, usually with assent from the state, is release these defendants on their own recognizance. I don't know a better solution than that. 

 

The other situations where it's really complicated are with cases involving children (be those emergency hearings in family court, dependency and severance cases, juvenile criminal court cases, etc.). Generally, these cases have strict time limits. What I'm seeing courts do with these is that because they don't require a jury trial but probably can't be continued is to hold court and encourage the parties to appear telephonically. I think this is a reasonable (although certainly not ideal) solution. I do have a case set for Friday where the court wants to hold an evidentiary hearing by phone and I intend to object based on the argument that the court needs to view the testifying witnesses for credibility purposes. Not sure what the court will rule. 

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7 hours ago, Zow said:

In the criminal law arena, the constitution guarantees trial by jury for defendants facting >6 months in jail. Many jurisdictions allow for a trial by jury in other case by statute/law. I don't see a way to end around this. And, with the trial by jury right, the defendant has a right to a fair and impartial jury which usually means that dozens of people need to be called in for selection. 

With the above in mind, I do think it's okay and not a disservice to speedy trial rights or to victims' rights to delay trials provided the defendant is out of custody. The is a super unique time whereby the CDC has mandated that gatherings of >10 people be avoided. The courts are then in a tough spot but the continuance, again, to me is reasonable. Whether it gets hairy is in a situation where an in-custody defendant has demanded a speedy trial (thankfully, I'm fortunate enough to oddly not have a current client in this situation at the moment). What I'm seeing courts do, usually with assent from the state, is release these defendants on their own recognizance. I don't know a better solution than that. 

 

 

The Western District of Washington suspended all hearings, including criminal.   The Speedy Trial Act provides exceptions to calculating the time to hold a hearing.   18 USC 3161(h)(7)(a).   The court issued a general order finding that due to the lack of available jurors and the current public health recommendations which affect the availability of counsel the ends of justice outweigh the interest of the public and defendants as to the right to a speedy trial.    Other courts are following.  Here's the provision:

Quote

 

The following periods of delay shall be excluded in computing the time within which an information or an indictment must be filed, or in computing the time within which the trial of any such offense must commence:

Any period of delay resulting from other proceedings concerning the defendant, including but not limited to

 

(7)(A)

Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by any judge on his own motion or at the request of the defendant or his counsel or at the request of the attorney for the Government, if the judge granted such continuance on the basis of his findings that the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial. No such period of delay resulting from a continuance granted by the court in accordance with this paragraph shall be excludable under this subsection unless the court sets forth, in the record of the case, either orally or in writing, its reasons for finding that the ends of justice served by the granting of such continuance outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.

 

Here's the order.

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