Criminal Rights During Emergency Orders

Emergency Orders issued by the governor cannot and do not suspend or supercede the United States Constitution. During this COVID-19 scare, many individuals are worried about their civil rights and liberties, especially those who are charged with a crime.

The courts have also issued orders to provide the greatest leniency during this crisis. Most people facing misdemeanor and traffic charges are being released without bond or even cited and released. The courts are continuing to hold regular hearings for those who are incarcerated to (1) review bonds; (2) hold arraignments via video from the jail; and (3) hold preliminary hearings for those in jail to assure there is probable cause of felony charges are appropriate.

Additionally, criminal defendants who are incarcerated retain their right to a speedy trial guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment. A violation of the Speedy Trial Clause is cause for dismissal with prejudice of a criminal case. Unfortunately, what many defendants believe is speedy and that which has been upheld by the Courts often substantially differ. Those wishing to assert their right to speedy trial should familiarize themselves with Barker v. Wingo (1972). and the Speedy Trial Act of 1974 to determine how these may apply to a specific case.

Do we still have the right to assemble as guaranteed under the First Amendment? The current executive orders do not allow persons to assemble. This does not prohibit the right to coordinate efforts through online forum or other means. It is likely that the current emergency orders issued by the governors in Ohio and Kentucky would survive constitutional scrutiny since they are ostensibly for the greater good due to the hysteria surrounding spreading of Coronavirus and they are specific as to time, location and manner.

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you should contact and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney at your earliest convenience. Many times getting an attorney involved early is the best way to a good resolution. For consultation and representation, contact Michael Bouldin by calling 859-581-6453 or email mwbouldin2@gmail.com.

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