Court System Prepares to Resume In-Person Arraignments Statewide

By Christian Nolan

Court System Prepares to Resume In-Person Arraignments Statewide

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Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, during her weekly coronavirus update Monday, announced the resumption of in‐person day arraignments in the New York City Criminal Court in Manhattan today, to be followed by Kings County on Tuesday, July 6, and in Bronx, Queens and Richmond Counties on July 12.

DiFiore also said that with the expiration of New York’s COVID-19 state disaster emergency last week, the Unified Court System is working with the New York State Magistrates Association and criminal justice stakeholders on plans to resume in‐person arraignments across the rest of the state.

“The restoration of face‐to‐face attorney‐client interaction in these critically important proceedings marks another important milestone in our return to the new normal, and we are excited about getting underway, albeit with the continued use of temperature checks, face masks and physical distancing by everyone in the courtroom, and with virtual arraignments of any defendants who are ill or have been exposed to COVID,” said DiFiore.

DiFiore commended everyone who has been disciplined and unified in adhering to their safety protocols in place at courthouses statewide. She noted that since their return to 100% in‐person staffing on May 24, there have been just two reported COVID-19 positive test results among their entire court staff of nearly 1,300 judges and 15,000 court professionals.

Bi-Weekly Updates

With summer now in full swing and things beginning to feel more normal in the courts statewide, DiFiore said she will scale back the frequency of her Monday updates and transition to a bi-weekly schedule beginning today. Her next scheduled update will be Monday, July 12.

“The Monday Message has proven to be an effective and well‐received means of keeping our court family, the legal community and the public informed and up to date on COVID‐related developments in the courts,” said DiFiore. “And while it is certainly a relief to finally be in a position where the need to provide COVID‐related news and information has become far less urgent, we do intend to continue our Monday Messages to keep you updated on all manner of court news – COVID and otherwise.”

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