COVID – 19 UPDATE
During this period of unprecedented uncertainty, please rest assured that
the Blumenthal Law Offices remain open and available to assist both current
and new clients as they navigate the criminal justice system. The criminal
courts and associated attorneys have been declared “essential personnel”
and are exempt from the state and federal closure orders that have thus
far been issued.
Our office has taken affirmative steps to ensure the safety of our clients
as this pandemic emergency unfolds. While the office itself remains open,
we have made adjustments to allow our staff to work from home when and
if necessary. We are encouraging our clients to communicate by phone or
email where possible, and we have increased our cleaning regimen to prevent
the spread of the coronavirus through surface contact.
For the safety of our employees and the inmates of the local jail systems,
we have taken the additional step of suspending visits to the jail facilities.
However, as always, we accept collect calls from jail inmates to discuss
matters, and direct calls to our offices from jail are not recorded or
monitored, allowing for confidential attorney-client communication in
most situations. We will make adjustments to this visitation policy if
and when needed, but so far it has not been an issue.
With regard to the criminal courts themselves, both Riverside and San Bernardino
have effectively shut down most operations through April 17th (and may
extend these closures indefinitely). The exceptions to this blanket closure
order at this point are limited to 1) arraignments for new cases in which
the defendant is in custody and 2) preliminary hearings in which the statutory
time limit of 60 days is in danger of passing. This is a very small subset
of the normal type and volume of cases which are addressed on a daily
basis in the courts. ALL OTHER MATTERS ARE BEING CONTINUED BY ORDER OF
THE COURT. These continuances have generally moved each matter exactly
two weeks into the future, with no other change to the case. We are receiving
updates daily from the local courts and are conveying changes to our clients
as soon as we are made aware. If you have any questions about the impacts
of these shutdowns on your case or the case of a loved one, please do
not hesitate to call.
We are, of course, very concerned about the impacts that the court shutdowns
are having on our clients and their statutory and constitutional rights.
Please understand that the courts share this concern as well and are working
diligently to bring the greater criminal justice system back on-line as
soon as they possibly can. That said, we understand that our first concern
is always to our clients’ interests. While this is a truly unique
circumstance in our (over 100 years of collective) experience, we are
communicating with other attorneys and civil rights experts to explore
challenges to any delays or practices that impact the rights of our clients.
For more information on Covid-19, including the latest news from courts
in Riverside and San Bernardino, visit:
California Coronavirus Response
Riverside Superior Court
San Bernardino Superior Court