COVID-19 Outbreak Adds to Harvey Backlog in the Courts

For the second time in three years, all Harris County courthouses are closed due to an "act of God."

Everything from murder trials down to child custody battles are on hold due to the county's "stay home" policy in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It's not just families of the defendants. And it's not just to the defendants. It's to the victims and to the witnesses, and everyone involved in the system,” says KTRH legal expert Chris Tritico.

He says the shutdown really brings into question the issue of due process.

“All of us still have cases that were Harvey delayed that haven't gone back to trial, now we've got this again.”

Tritico says the U.S. Supreme Court will likely deliver a hard pill to swallow for both defendants and victims of pending cases.

“The system is not designed and was not set up for pandemics, and we're going to have to figure out how to handle this,” he says. “My gut guess is the Supreme Court will eventually say the due process clause yields to public health.”

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