York County's COVID-19 judicial emergency status extended to May 31

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
York County Judicial Center

York County's top judge has extended the county's judicial emergency to May 31 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Common Pleas Judge Joseph C. Adams filed his declaration Friday with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, he said.

The state Supreme Court has authorized county president common pleas judges to extend their previously ordered judicial emergencies.

Adams' order states that any postponement of hearings, trials and other cases won't count against the government for purposes of Pennsylvania's Rule 600.

Rule 600, known as the "speedy trial rule," guarantees criminal defendants the right to a trial within a year after being charged, not including continuances or delays requested by the defense. It also guarantees that if a case hasn't made its way to trial within 180 days, not including defense delays, a defendant can be released on nominal bail, meaning $1.

York County President Judge Joseph C. Adams

A number of York County proceedings are still taking place utilizing two-way video conferencing and Zoom for matters including adoptions, according to Adams.

Judicial districts operating under the emergency declaration must arrange for essential services to continue, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

More:State Supreme Court declares statewide judicial emergency

"It is vital that the courts remain open to serve the public," Adams told The York Dispatch a month ago. "However, in keeping with the recommendations made by health officials, we will be slowing down our operations to address only essential matters."

Those "essential matters" include requests for protection from abuse orders, juvenile matters and criminal matters, he said.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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