COVID-19 and Gideon

Happy Friday, everybody. Bit of a unusual video for you this week, as we, just like most of you, are working from home, trying to deal with this coronavirus COVID-19 situation. I wish everybody the very best of luck, best health to each and all of you. So I wanted to take a few moments today and let you know some of the details of what we’re hearing from the courts.

As of right now, most of the courts around the local counties have suspended pretty much all operations until at least May 3rd. That’s true for Collin, Denton, Dallas County, you name it. So if you have a current pending case, be it civil, be it criminal in any one of those courts, the best bet, the most effective measure that we’ve seen work, reach out to the court coordinator, speak to them. They can tell you what that specific court is doing in terms of pass slips or resetting or getting you a new date.

If you don’t have a court and you’re just worried what this is going to do … or a court date and you’re worried about what this is going to do to your docket, right now that’s kind of all up in the air. Who knows what’s going to be the ultimate fallout from all this? So we’ll just have to wait and see, do the very best we can.

Brings me to the other reason for the video today, this week we celebrated a very big anniversary. It was the anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright. Defense lawyers like myself call it Gideon Day because it was a 1963 US Supreme Court case. Huge, huge deal because it is the Supreme Court case that ruled that each and every defendant in a criminal case is absolutely required by the constitution to receive a court appointed attorney if he cannot afford one.

So it’s a big deal and on Gideon Day, I wanted to give a big shout out to all my criminal defense colleagues who are out there. They have clients in jail, they are suffering through this COVID-19 situation, just like all of us. A lot of them were dealing with situations where their client was in jail, scheduled to have a court hearing to get them released, to either get them a time served plea or something similar. That hearing got pushed back and so now there’s this air of uncertainty.

A lot of my colleagues have been working pretty much around the clock, trying to figure out a solution to get these ladies and gentlemen that are in jail, that are incarcerated, that are sitting there thinking that the world has forgotten about them, to get them representation, to get them in front of a judge, to do something, anything to get them relief. So huge, huge shout out to all of the criminal defense attorneys out there that are on the ground, trying to make that happen. I want to wish each and every one of you out there a very safe and healthy Friday. I will see you all next week, and until then, stay safe.

Author Bio

James P. Whalen

James P. Whalen is the managing attorney and founder of Whalen Law Office, a Texas criminal defense firm offering personalized legal representation for various federal criminal charges. With a commitment to providing comfort and guidance during challenging times, Mr. Whalen serves as both an attorney and counselor to his clients, helping them navigate their cases while striving to restore normalcy to their lives.

In an inherently unbalanced criminal justice system, Mr. Whalen takes on cases with unwavering dedication. With decades of legal experience, he offers representation across various criminal charges, including white-collar crimes, violent crimes, drug charges, and more. Mr. Whalen’s numerous accolades, including Super Lawyer recognition and board certification in Criminal Appellate Law and Criminal Law, reflect his unwavering commitment to ethical and high-quality legal representation.

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