All parties shall be ready to proceed at the time the matter is scheduled to be heard. All pretrial tasks (including, without limitation, providing discovery, negotiation of plea agreements and recommendations, meeting with defendants, interviewing and preparing witnesses and executing agreed orders) shall be completed in advance of the scheduled hearing.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the jail, the Court prefers and has been working to enable incarcerated defendants to appear remotely for continuance motions, pleas, and waivers of preliminary hearing. The plan calls for Defendants to be brought to the courtroom only for trials and preliminary hearings unless circumstances warrant otherwise.
If the case has been resolved, a plea agreement or Waiver of Preliminary Hearing may be entered with the Defendant appearing remotely by video. Prior to the hearing, defense counsel will have obtained the defendant's original signatures on the Agreed Order to Conduct Video Hearing. Blank copies of this form order are available in the Personal Visiting section of the Adult Detention Center where professional visits now occur. The attorney shall have the Agreed Order and related forms (including but not limited to Restitution Orders, ASAP/251 Orders, or Substance Abuse Counseling) signed prior to the hearing date. In lieu of a jail visit, counsel may contact Casey Lingan in the Sheriff's Office for an alternative mechanism for getting the defendant's endorsement of the order.
Should a change in circumstance at the hearing necessitate counsel conveying a last minute offer to an incarcerated defendant, procedures have been put in place:
- For inmates who are quarantined or unable to leave their housing unit, dedicated phone lines have been prioritized for that purpose. If counsel needs to contact their client in the Adult Detention Center between court hours of 8AM-4PM regarding a plea or other matter related to a same-day court hearing, they should call 703-246-3598 (Post 18 - main lobby visiting/information desk) and a Sheriff's office staff member will facilitate communication between the attorney and client. Phone calls for plea deals and same-day court-related matters will take precedence over routine attorney-client calls during this time.
- For all other inmates, two landline phones have been installed in the professional visiting area. Inmates on the court list are temporarily held in this location pending a video hearing/arraignment. Instead of returning the inmate to their respective housing unit to receive a call, the inmate will be placed in one of two private professional visiting rooms equipped with a hard phone line, and the attorney will be provided a phone number by the courtroom deputy to call the defendant to discuss the plea deal.
For any hearing in which the defendant will appear by video - waiver of preliminary hearing or Plea hearing - the parties must execute the Agreed Order to Conduct Video Hearing. Original signatures are required. The Court deems it a best practice that counsel anticipate such a change in circumstance during the public health emergency and obtain the defendant's original signature on the Agreed Order to Conduct Video Hearing in advance of the trial or preliminary hearing date.
The Trial Advisement And Plea form and Waiver of Preliminary Hearing form are not available at the ADC. Both forms are available to the defendant in the video room of the ADC. During the hearing, the judge will review the forms with the defendant and obtain the defendant's signature on those forms which will later be paired with the copy signed by the Commonwealth and defense counsel. Alternatively, technology permitting, copies of the completed plea or waiver forms will be scanned and faxed/emailed to the ADC to obtain the Defendant's original signature.
Outside of court hours 8AM-4PM, counsel should call 703-246-2100 (Post 10) to speak with their client.