Coronavirus ImageThis is one memo I never thought I would have to write – that a pandemic is sweeping the country and that our home county has been at its epicenter. Every person and every sector of our community are adjusting to the changes brought on by this pandemic and the DA’s Office is no different. While we are public servants, we also have families whose lives are equally affected. Together we will all get through this and keep Westchester safe in the process. Uniquely, how the NY State Court System reacts to the changing demands of this crisis, affects how my Office operates.

My staff has risen to the challenge. While on any given day most are working from home where possible, we are making sure every court part is covered; our Office phones are staffed; and systems are in place to continue serving all County residents.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo has issued a series of executive orders that impact the administration of justice in Westchester and throughout the state. In response to the Governor’s orders, the Office of Court Administration has significantly modified all judicial operations. Some of the new rules include:

  • All criminal trials are postponed until further notice
  • No new grand juries shall be empaneled absent exceptional circumstances
  • All orders of protection are automatically extended
  • All non-essential matters are adjourned until April 15, 2020
  • All specific time limits for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion or other process are suspended until April 19, 2020. This stops the clock on discovery, speedy trial, felony hearings, FOIL requests and Notices of Appeal.
  • Arraignments and emergency applications continue to be heard as needed, such as temporary orders of protection, essential Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) matters, and resentencing of retained and incarcerated defendants.

Please note, all court proceedings are being held on the first floor of the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains, not in local courts.

In the meantime, from all of us in the DA’s Office, stay healthy and stay safe.