Pandemic

How Felony Cases are Progressing during the Pandemic

A 2020 mass incarceration report indicates that out of 631,000 people held in the United States jails every day, 74% are usually not yet convicted. Many people are typically held because they cannot post bail, which averages out to a median of $15,000 for felony cases in state courts. And when you consider how the current pandemic can indefinitely delay those cases, it creates a lot of problems for lawyers and their clients.

Since the pandemic started, the justice system also had to figure out how to operate during tough times. The courtrooms shut down, and delays left many criminal cases in limbo as courts could only offer essential services like bail hearings and arraignments.

Source:martinandkent.com

Changes in Speedy Trial Requirements

Some jurisdictions decided to lower overcrowding in jails by releasing vulnerable inmates and not arresting nonviolent offenders; however, the decisions still leave many pre-trial detainees. Although the 6th amendment gives defendants the right to a speedy trial, it does not specify a time frame, and many have had to set their parameters to set the length for various cases.

In California, felony cases must be tried within 60 days; failure to do so may lead to dismissal unless the defendant abdicates the requirement; states like Texas have no fixed period. The closure of state courts due to the pandemic has compelled the states to modify their laws. Therefore, without specified deadlines, detainees may sit in jails until the courts reopen.

Some attorneys and judges conveyed doubts about the resumption time of in-person court proceedings. Public defenders understand the need for the suspension of speedy trial but wonder when it will end. As the reopening of states continues, Virginia, Nevada, Kentucky, and others have made plans to return in-person court services; many planned to resume physical jury hearings in June or July. However, systemic limitations and the need for states to undertake careful planning and adhere to public safety measures mean a continued increase of backlogs.

Attorney-client Communication

Source:onlinecitizenasia.com

Prisons and jails have become hotbeds for the Covid-19 transmission. For example, in April, out of about 2500 inmates in an Ohio prison, 73% tested positive while an Indiana facility had 92% positive tests out of 137 inmates. Additionally, a legal aid society report indicates that New York City jails had more infections than the rest of the population.

The health concerns have led to lockdown in correctional facilities, which restricts lawyers from seeing their clients. Defence attorneys typically discuss sensitive matters with their clients face-to-face because of phone calls’ susceptibility to monitoring. Due to the restrictions of movement, the situation has made it impossible for them to handle certain portions of their work.

Defence attorneys have turned to work remotely, which has become the new normal for various sectors. Although working from home keeps you safe, it comes with some challenges. Law practice requires confidentiality, so lawyers like Takakjian & Sitkoff, LLP have had to find secure communication methods with clients and colleagues.

Proper communication and collaboration between colleagues, law firm management, and clients streamline the work of a lawyer. With the absence of one-on-one meetings due to the pandemic, lawyers rely on emails and phone calls to communicate with their clients. Technology has been an invaluable resource helping attorneys do their job remotely. Law firms have cloud-based platforms so employees can securely access data and files from home to help prepare for their cases. They can also communicate with their clients through video conferencing.

Remote criminal proceedings

Source:firstlegal.com

While defence attorneys push for the release of inmates and prosecutors work to lower populations in jails across the country, some districts are keeping cases going remotely. For example, Judge Scott Schlegel of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, oversaw the implementation of digitized records, video conferencing, and shared online scheduling and many more technologies to increase his court’s efficiency.

Although several courts are looking into remote jury trials, many experts have doubts about the efficiency of conducting criminal jury cases through remote technology and the constitutionality of remote proceedings. Jury trials usually involve monitoring jurors, attorneys, and clients for distractions like the internet and texts. The decision made by jurors affects one’s liberty and freedom, so they have to focus and pay attention to the proceedings and endeavor that is difficult to achieve through video conferencing.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) act passed by the Congress in March 2020, allowed the United States judicial conference to expand the Federal judges’ authority to use remote proceedings in more matters. Courts can now use video and telephonic hearings to conduct felony cases sentencing and pleas if the judge determines that delay could impair justice, and in-person proceedings compromise public safety and health.

Effects on Plea Bargains

Several critical cases in the United States are settled through plea bargains. By pleading guilty, a defendant can get a lesser sentence, the number of charges reduced, receive a lighter punishment, or other concessions placed by the prosecutor. The COVID-19 gives prosecutors and defendants a significant incentive to strike a plea bargain.

Plea bargains may help a defendant stay out of jail and allow prosecutors to coherently reduce the backlogs and settle cases. However, defendants should be wary about pleading guilty because a criminal record may affect your chances of getting employed, particularly during the adverse economic conditions brought by the pandemic.

Fees and Fines Payment

Source:aecf.org

A defendant incurs a certain amount of court fees, fines, and restitution to the victim of the crime as part of a sentence. These charges can accumulate quickly and make an already stressful situation worse. The closure of courts does not waiver the fines and fees payments, failure to make the payments without a convincing reason can cause a judge to compel you to appear in court or put out a bench warrant.

The pandemic has forced people to make changes in how they operate daily activities at home and work. Adapting to the uncertain times ensures that we remain productive while also taking care of your health.

The COVID-19 Lockdown has Shown the Difference we Could Make to the Planet

COVID-19 and the lockdown have been difficult for most people, but there is a positive effect in the middle of all the turmoil, the influence on the planet’s ecosystem. This difficult time has taught us a lot about emissions and the environment.

We all need to work together

For many people, annual Earth day is often full of good intentions which never seem to last long. They can quickly become despondent when their efforts fail to produce results, or when few seem to share their enthusiasm in protecting the planet. Activists such as Louise Gund, who is also a successful Broadway producer, can be quite vocal and makes many valid points which many will agree with. However, before COVID-19, it seemed impossible for a comparatively small number of activists to make a significant difference. While businesses and government agencies were starting to take the threat to the environment more seriously, it was something which relied on everyone to work together. This seemed an unlikely reality, until many countries around the world went into lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In the process, they reduced the pollution and greenhouse emissions.

Source:cordmagazine.com

Many people can work from home

Professions such as retail, construction and food production can never be done from home. Although, many sectors which previously claimed that staff needed to be in the office all or most of the time, found new ways to clear their workload as staff worked from home. This has played a big part in reducing the volume of traffic on the roads, resulting in lower emissions. Assuming things go back to a reasonable level of normality, home-working has been proven to work for a large number of people. It poses questions about whether this method of work could be continued, to keep down emissions and protect the environment, now that we have been shown it can work. Of course, there may be times when workers need to be physically present, but we’ve learned it’s not as often as we thought. The positive effect on the environment could also inspire people to look at other ways of saving energy.

People will find other ways to keep in touch, from a distance

Source:nbcnews.com

With the temporary closure of social venues such as restaurants and bars, people found other ways to keep in touch. Some who lived within walking distance of each other, left the car at home and took advantage of their allowed exercise to walk to family and friends’ houses, even if it’s just to drop off essential supplies to their doorstep, then to stand back and catch a brief glimpse of them. While others had to make do with social media, video calls or the telephone, the impact on the environment was less than traveling to a venue to meet up in person. Clearly, the businesses being shut also meant less of an impact on the environment. It’s not a long-term solution for those businesses and for the livelihoods of their employees but may at least make people reconsider whether they can walk somewhere in future, as opposed to driving there or taking a bus.

We don’t need to use all those shops

With many shops deemed non-essential and having to shut during the pandemic, it has shown that we can make do without them, at least for a short time. Again, they employ people and are important, but in the near future, people may rethink how frequently they shop there. As well as the environmental implications of buying more clothes, furniture and other items from these shops. We as customers could ask ourselves if we really need to purchase them as often as we do. People like to save money, and if they’ve gone longer than usual without buying them, it could lead to cutting down. That means fewer emissions from the production and transportation of goods. The lack of takeaways (as delicious as some of them are) has led to more baking and home cooking being done.

We can shop locally

Having discovered that we can shop less, we’ve also learned we can shop locally, With many consumers reluctant to travel too far, the local shops have provided a safer way of getting essentials. Small shops which may have been overlooked before, in favor of supermarkets, have shown us that local outlets can provide what we need. While many shoppers who were classified as vulnerable, will have been reluctant to queue outside larger stores, local shops have provided a safer alternative. When “non-essential” shops re-open, we could continue that trend and keep emissions low by shopping closer to home, resulting in less travel or a shorter drive if need be. If others follow suit by shopping locally, this can have minimal impact on sales – with everyone shopping in their local area, and a higher reduction in emissions.

Source:channelsight.com

We don’t need to travel so much

Having discovered we don’t need to travel as much has shown positive results for the environment, and what can be achieved when we all (unintentionally) work together to reduce the damage to the planet. Holidays abroad are less essential compared to the privilege of being able to see our loved ones closer to home. For some, the lockdown has been an opportunity to discover new places closer to home, previously they would have driven a beauty spot a greater distance away.

We’ve proven (without trying) that we can make a positive impact on the environment. When lockdown is over, we can put into action some of the things we may have been forced to do, to stay local, work from home and focus on what matters to make the world a better place to live. This may mean that emissions will rise slightly, but if we consciously work together to minimize the impact on the environment, we can keep the rise to a minimum.

It may have taken a pandemic, but one positive thing to take away from this is that we’ve been given an insight that it is possible to preserve the planet for future generations.

Can Your Pet Get Coronavirus?

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Coronavirus has become a global problem, and there is almost no country where there are no confirmed cases. Given that in most countries, coming weeks present the culmination of the epidemic, there is no doubt that there is certain panic among people. Everybody has a lot of questions about the new virus, and as it has become commonplace in modern society, the answers are sought on the Internet, social networks, etc.

In addition to uncertainty, there is fear among people as there is no yet enough reliable and secure information on Covid-19. Simply, this virus is still not well known and doesn’t have a well-defined drug or vaccine to help. Fortunately, each of us can contribute and help suppress the pandemic by having to #stayathome, and therefore #staysafe.

Source:ft.com

However, among the many issues, one is particularly interesting. Namely, many want to find out if there is a real chance our pets to get infected with coronavirus, and if we already have our pet infected with Covid-19, will we get infected too? More specifically, can the virus be transmitted from human to animal, and vice versa? Well, we will try to give you the answers you are looking for.

If you keep up to date with the latest updates on coronavirus, you will see that everyone is talking how this virus is most dangerous for chronic patients and old people. However, can our pet be infected and transmit it to us?

Source:thailandmedical.news

In some cases, it is possible. Namely, about two months ago, in February, one case of a new virus infection in Hong Kong was confirmed. According to Kobipets a test report conducted by the AFCD (Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department) of Hong Kong, one dog was infected, but was actually infected by its owner. On the other hand, its owner had all the symptoms of the new virus. When it came to infected Pomeranian, it had no significant human-specific symptoms.

Another study conducted in China found that cats were susceptible to the virus. However, the fact that only 5 animals have been tested and included in the study must be taken into account.

Also, shortly after, news emerged that a cat in Belgium was infected with a coronavirus. However, experts there confirmed that this was an “isolated case” and could not constitute a definitive conclusion on the matter. Besides, we have to add that after a few days, the infected cat has recovered.

Source:albawaba.com

What is the opinion of experts from the World Health Organization when it comes to transmitting virus from humans to animals and vice versa? Well, hey stated in mid-March that the chances of transmitting new coronavirus from animal to human are very small. Even there are confirmed cases where pets became ill, however, they didn’t show significant symptoms or complications due to infection. Therefore, they cannot be considered as the source of infection.

As you can see, a pet can be infected in certain cases, but it’s very unlikely to happen. In addition, it is very unlikely that your pet will become a source of infection and transmit a new coronavirus to you. So, for now there is no need to worry. Don’t forget to #stayathome, and to #staysafe.

Donald Trump Pointed out Who is the Guiltiest for the Pandemic

The United States President, Donald Trump, accused the World Health Organization of being responsible for the global pandemic of coronavirus. He criticizes WHO of being too light towards China and that they gave bad advice on the beginning of the pandemic.

Also read: Donald Trump Owns Shares in a Company that Produces Hydroxychloroquine

Source:euronews.com

He said that they really messed up. Moreover, he said that for some reason, even though the biggest percentage of the WHO is financed by the US, somehow, they are a lot closer to China. At the same time, he pointed out that the borders between China and the US were closed by luck at the beginning of the pandemic. He asked himself why the WHO had such bad advice at the beginning of the pandemic.

Source:metro.co.uk

On a daily briefing about the global coronavirus pandemic, he said that the US will reconsider the further financing of the WHO. He didn’t say that they are going to stop the financing, but they will reconsider it as least. The United States is the biggest financier to the World Health Organization. Since the beginning of 2020, the US financed that organization with $57,8 million. in the second place, we have China with $28,7 million.

Which Country Will Recover First from COVID-19?

Besides being dangerous for world health, with more than a million people infected, this pandemic also has a huge influence on the global economy, and many experts are warning us how this can be another economic crisis that will hit all world.

Source:cfr.org

The economies of most countries have stopped, and they are trying to figure out what measures would help the economy and society after the pandemic ends. According to some announced measures and active measures, we can see that the best control over this crisis can be seen in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Luxembourg, where they are fighting with a virus, but they also prepared a special set of measures that will save their economies when the quarantine days are over.

The United States also came up with the idea to help their economy, and assign special funds for small businesses, families, and children. They are hoping that a good financial injection into every industrial sector would prevent the fall down of the entire economy.

Source:thenewsmarket.com

Another country that seems like it gained control over the crisis is China when this pandemic started in the first place. They were fighting with the COVID-19 for a long time, and there are first clues that the situation is calming down.

Some countries were prepared for the outbreak, like Russia, or Finland, where we can the situation is under control, and there are no too many new people diseased. Also, Singapore is one of the countries with the smallest death rates, with only three victims from a total of around 900 infected.

South Korea is also controlling the situation, especially because of its rapid measures and responsible citizens. Furthermore, since Hong Kong already had experience with some similar outbreaks in recent history, they are dealing well and their medical centers were well prepared since the beginning.

The Netflix ‘Pandemic’ Doc says he Might Have Found the Cure for Coronavirus

One of the doctors from the show, “Pandemic,” said that he may have found a cure for the coronavirus, and the military is currently jumping into action to test it.

Dr. Jacob Glanville, the head of Distributed Bio, explained the antibody therapy. It is a shot that binds, neutralizes, and prevents the virus from infecting human cells.

Source:calgaryherald.com

However, there’s more. Dr. Glanville revealed that people who already have the virus could benefit in only 20 minutes if it works.

The doctor says the antibodies he used were developed in 2002 to stop the spread of SARS. He and his team evolved the antibodies in the lab and claims, “they very vigorously block and stop [COVID19].”

Source:calgaryherald.com

According to Dr. Glanville, the antibodies are currently being sent to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Apparently, the military is going to do the lab tests. They don’t plan on testing it on humans yet, but if the trial shows promise, it will happen in the future.

Is it Safe for Kids to Be Outside During the Pandemic

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For the last few weeks, governments worldwide have been advising people to stay indoors to avoid the possibility of spreading the coronavirus. Some parents have been having concerns over how healthy it is for kids to spend their entire days enclosed inside their four walls.

Source:nytimes.com

For now, the safest solution for everyone is to remain indoors, but nothing can replace fresh air and outdoor activities. Kids are full of stamina and it is hard for them to tire themselves out in an enclosed space. Further, visiting the parks where the kids spent a large portion of their daily lives is not advised.

While some parents have the commodity of letting their kids play in their backyards and balconies, some fear even this form of going outside and prefer to keep their kids indoors for their safety.

Source:funacademy.fi

Contagion is possible whenever we go outside, but opening your windows and letting the airflow in is very important. This is a unique time which we can spend with our kids, and we can compensate for everything by showing them love and kindness in these worrying times.

When is the Pandemic of Coronavirus Going to be Over? – Some New Studies are Giving the World Hope

Because of COVID-19, our everyday life has been put on hold, and everyone wants to know when it will all stop. When is the pandemic going to be over, and when is everything going to be safe again?

There have been some new studies on Coronavirus that are saying that the virus is not spreading that effective in regions of the world where the climate is hot, and the humidity is high. The scientists are still doing their research, and nothing is yet certain, but we can see what awaits us in the warmer months ahead of us.

Source:aljazeera.com

Scientists from the Institute of Technology in Massachusetts analyzed the number of global cases of COVID-19. They found out that 90 % of people that are infected are in the regions where the temperature is between 3 and 17 degrees Celsius and where the humidity is between 4 and 9 grams per square meter.

In countries where the average temperature is higher than 18 degrees Celius and the humidity is higher than 9 grams per square meter, there are only 6 % of the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide.

It means that the spreading of the Coronavirus is less efficient in the warmer regions. Also, humidity plays an important role. The majority of the people infected by the virus are from areas of the planet with lower humidity.

But that also doesn’t mean that people that are living in those countries shouldn’t practice social distancing, or that when summer comes, it won’t be necessary to social distance from others or that it would be okay to go to parties and bars.

For the most significant part of North America and Europe, the effect of the humidity on the spreading of the virus will be minor until June, because then it will be over 9 grams per square meter.

But if there are many infected people before the warmer months and higher humidity, then warmer months are not going to do anything, because those months don’t last long.

Some other scientists are convinced that the summer months won’t help and that the virus won’t stop then.

Doctor William Shafner, a specialist for the infective diseases from the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, says that he doesn’t believe that the virus will be stopped during the summer months. But that gives some hope to the people.

Source:edition.cnn.com

The spread of influenza viruses and other respiratory viruses slows down and decreases at high temperatures and when the humidity is high. However, it is not yet clear why’s that the case.

When you look at the virus under a microscope, you will see that it is surrounded by a microscopic sphere of moisture called a droplet. And when the humidity is low in the winter, this sphere evaporates, and the virus can then hover in the air for a long time because the gravity will not pull it toward the ground. And that’s one of the explanations why viruses are easily transmitted in the winter period.

Schaffner also explained that in summer, when a person exhales a viral particle, the droplet surrounding the virus does not evaporate, making the virus heavier and more manageable for gravity to pull it down. It means that people are not able to be infected so quickly, like in the winter, because the virus doesn’t hover in the air for as long as it does in the winter.

There is flu in the summer, but the spreading of it is slower than in winter months.

Schaffner also said that we couldn’t count on this fact that warmer months with higher humidity will slow the spread of Coronavirus and that everything will be okay then.