Federal Judge D. Price Marshall, chief judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas, has extended the court order against most in-person proceedings.
A new administrative order cites the increase in COVID-19 cases in Arkansas and extends the order for video or telephone conferences through Sept. 25.
The order specifically notes the cases in federal, state and county prisons. It notes:
Many correctional facilities have restricted the movement of prisoners in and out. Transportation of those in custody remains challenging. And it is generally believed that many folks are infected and contagious but asymptomatic. In these circumstances of continuing uncertainty and certain risk, it is still necessary to conduct proceedings remotely when the interests of justice require doing so.
The order also says this means some felony pleas and sentencings can’t be conducted in-person without risk. If defendants agree, these also may be done remotely.
UPDATE: Judge Susan Hickey, chief judge for the Western District of Arkansas, has issued a similar order extending the special rules for 90 days.