Doug Bedell — May 8, 2020, 1:17 pm

How Covid-19 Undermines the Security of Our Justice System


One of the less talked about, perhaps even recognized, effects of the coronavirus pandemic is its impact on the criminal justice system. Kerry L. Erisman, a faculty member at American Military University, writes on InPublicSafety that the coronavirus has “significantly affected the state and federal court systems, in some cases bringing them to a near standstill.”

“Prior to the spread of COVID-19, many courts had lengthy backlogs of criminal and civil cases. The past few months have exacerbated the backlogs and jeopardized the constitutional rights of defendants. The Sixth Amendment provides criminal defendants the right to a speedy and public trial, but the pandemic has significantly impeded the courts from providing these rights to defendants.”

This has affected every level of justice from the U.S. Supreme Court to prison settings, where social distancing can’t readily be maintained. And it’s clearly no way to assure the security of what we all want to retain as a smoothly functioning society.

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