Judge: people need to follow rules, more videoconferencing needed at Allegheny Co. courthouse

PITTSBURGH — The health and safety of people at the Allegheny County Courthouse took center stage as a defense attorney grilled the head judge about COVID-19 precautions.

After three assistant district attorneys contracted the virus and multiple defense attorneys expressed health concerns, president Judge Kim Clark banned in-person hearings. But judges, attorneys and staff are still working there.

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Clark also said she is concerned that jury trials are on hold, saying they can’t keep the justice system on hold forever. She added more videoconferencing is needed and people need to actually follow the posted rules.

“Every employee should not be left behind in this building or any other county building until they are free from infection and free from the possibility of taking this virus, this plague home to their loved ones,” said defense attorney Milton Raiford.

The district attorney’s office has implemented a work from home policy, office-wide surface cleanings and is looking at air quality. The agency is also considering temperature checks, contact tracing and touchless building entry, too.