COVID-19 and Court Closures
COVID-19 has affected all areas of life in Colorado and across our nation. On March 16, Supreme Court of Colorado Chief Justice Nathan Coats issued an Order suspending all jury calls in state courts through April 3, 2020, with the exception of jury calls for criminal trials facing imminent speedy trial deadlines. On March 20, Chief Justice Coats extended that prohibition until May 15, 2020.
In Colorado, every defendant has a right to a speedy trial pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes 18-1-405. However, there are instances when a defendant's speedy trial right can be waived or tolled. Throughout the state, district attorneys have requested to waive defendant's speedy rights for them, claiming their law enforcement witnesses are not available due to the coronavirus closings.
Many, if not most, court appearances across the Denver metro area have been continued to mid-May or early June. Once the courts do open back up, it is likely there will be an onslaught
of cases facing their speedy trial deadlines and the courtrooms will be more congested than ever.