The state of Louisiana has one of the highest infection rates of COVID-19 in the country. Over the last five months, there have been 108,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,000 deaths as a result of the virus. Due to its widespread impact, businesses and social services shut down throughout the state. The court system is no exception.
Suspending Due Process in Louisiana Leads to Overcrowded Jails
Staying home and social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 was a protocol adopted by a majority of the United States. In mid-March, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards also signed an Emergency Executive Order that limited the actions of state citizens. The order included closing non-essential businesses, limited travel throughout the state, and extended deadlines for government processes. Among the processes receiving extensions was the legal deadline for attorneys to file charges against individuals held in jail.
Louisiana has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. Suspending due process for individuals being held in state jails or prisons quickly led to overcrowding and less than satisfactory conditions inside facilities. During a pandemic that calls for social distancing, too many people in close proximity to one another is a recipe for disaster.
Coronavirus Spreads Quickly In Packed Prisons
Conditions in state and county jails in prisons in Louisiana are ideal breeding grounds for disease. Not only are cells in close proximity to one another, but there are also numerous shared spaces throughout the facilities. Within the first month of the state-wide shutdown, five people died in an Oakland, LA facility. Public health officials agree that keeping prisons in a crowded state will, without a doubt, lead to a health crisis among imprisoned individuals, prison staff, their families, and the community at large.
Minority Communities Severely Impacted By Lack of Due Process
Minority communities throughout Louisiana are among the most affected by the suspension of due process in the court systems. The majority of individuals waiting in jail are facing minor charges. Studies show that an effective way to curb the spread of COVID-19 in prisons is to release those waiting for minor charges back to their homes and, likewise, to release individuals in prison for minor infractions. Doing so will reduce the number of people in jail and prison facilities and help to slow the spread.
The bottom line is the state of Louisiana has a duty to protect the individuals in jail, whether or not they have been convicted of a crime. If you are facing criminal charges during these uncertain times, the best course of action is to hire a trusted attorney who understands the court system and will fight tirelessly for you. The right attorney will be able to appeal your case and mitigate the charges you face.
Louisiana Criminal Defense Attorneys Fight For You
In Louisiana, The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm is a recognized source of legal representation for people facing criminal charges. Even during the pandemic, we are committed to fighting for you. Our team has more than 25 years of experience winning cases for ordinary citizens in situations just yours. We have won millions of dollars in settlements and will stop at nothing to make sure we provide you with a winning experience as well.
Our lawyers are members of the Louisiana Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Attorney Eric Johnson is a problem solver with a successful track record. He has served clients facing serious criminal charges throughout Louisiana, and is ready to help solve your problems, too. Fill out our online contact form today for a free consultation or call 318-377-1555.