New plans hope to slow surge of COVID-19 at Allegheny County Courthouse

New plans hope to slow surge of COVID-19 at Allegheny County Courthouse

PITTSBURGH — Officials hope new plans being put in place will help slow the surge of COVID-19 cases at the Allegheny County Courthouse.

“Everyday of the week, I’m in somebody’s courthouse,” said criminal defense attorney Turahn Jenkins. “My fear is I would potentially contract the virus and take it home and expose my wife and children.”

As COVID-19 continues to spread, its impact at the courthouse include court employees, attorneys, an assistant district attorney and others. Four positive cases were reported earlier in the week.

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A new court order goes into effect Nov. 24 and lasts through Dec. 4. During that time, there will be no in-person hearings or proceedings in any division of the Court of Common Pleas. It will be done remotely. Anyone who is scheduled to appear for jury selection is not required to show up. Any proceedings that can’t be conducted remotely will be postponed until after Dec. 4.

“It doesn’t really matter in my opinion where you’re at in this county. We’ve seen the increase rate overnight skyrocket,” said attorney Phil DiLucente.

Here are more details of the order:

All Court of Common Pleas facilities shall remain open to the public and open for case filings including, but not limited to:

• The Criminal Division Miscellaneous Motions Counter, Room 534 for acceptance of filings;

• The Formal Arraignment section, Room 519, for those defendants with a scheduled formal arraignment who have not waived their presence;

• The Civil Division Housing Court Help Desk for assistance to landlords and tenants.

CLICK HERE to download the entire order

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