April 7, 2020

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm, Eastern Time

Pandemic at the Courthouse Doors

Washington, DC

As public health experts predict that current social distancing measures may need to be in place weeks or months longer than originally anticipated, federal and state criminal and civil courts must grapple with what that means for judges, parties coming before courts, jurors, and court personnel. Yet, a recent survey of judges found that nearly sixty percent do not feel adequately prepared to make decisions about how to manage their dockets and protect parties’ rights in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Many courts have closed or suspended in-person business for the time being to minimize exposure. The suspension of jury trials, legal deadlines, and statutes of limitations, however, could prove harmful to parties in criminal and civil cases seeking to vindicate their rights and, more worrisome, potentially fatal to criminal defendants forced to remain in overcrowded, unsanitary pretrial detention facilities, like Rikers Island, which has already reported COVID-19 cases.

Can courts balance their role as protectors of the rule of law with the public health measures necessary to quell a pandemic?


Russ Feingold, President, ACS

Featured Speakers:

Hon. Shira Scheindlin (Ret.), U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Elaine Poon, Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Justice Center

Jonathan Smith, Executive Director, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Christopher Wright Durocher, Senior Director of Policy and Program, ACS, Moderator

The American Constitution Society is a State Bar of California approved CLE provider. This event has been approved for 1 hour of California MCLE credit.

For CLE documentation, click here.

As the nation's leading progressive legal organization, ACS is committed to ensuring that all aspects of our events are accessible and enjoyable for all. If you require any accommodations, please contact us at info@acslaw.org.