Victims, witnesses and others having business with the District Attorney’s Office may now come to the District Attorney’s Office subject to new protocols.
Protocols include mandatorily wearing of face-coverings, answering health questions, temperature takings, and maintaining social distancing.
Grand Jury Proceedings to Resume Soon.
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced today that victims, witnesses and others having business with the District Attorney’s Office, may now come to the District Attorney’s Office subject to complying with new health and safety protocols which have been implemented to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The new protocols include having all District Attorney Office staff members and visitors wear face-coverings, answer health questions and have their temperatures taken prior to entering the office. All individuals must maintain proper social distancing while in the office. The new protocols were instituted after consultation with the Orange County Commissioner of Health. Visitors will primarily be interviewed in conference rooms outside of the main District Attorney’s Office. These will be cleaned between meetings. Within the District Attorney’s Office, most hallways have been designated as one-way to limit staff or visitors being in close proximity with others in the office. Everyone, including staff, are asked before they enter the office: whether in the past fourteen days they have had a fever, cough, shortness of breath or any flu-like symptoms; if they have tested positive for COVID-19; if they have been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19; or, if they have returned from travel abroad or from a state covered by the Governor’s Executive Order 205, which mandates a quarantine period for persons returning from certain designated states.
District Attorney Hoovler also announced that Grand Jury proceedings which had been shut down due to the pandemic are expected to resume shortly subject to the Chief Administrative Judge approving the District Attorney’s plans to keep witnesses, grand jurors and staff safe during the proceedings. The District Attorney’s plan for the Grand Jury includes implementing all the same protocols which are being followed in the District Attorney’s Office. Grand jury proceedings will initially be conducted in Orange County’s Legislative chambers, which is much larger room than the grand jury room within the District Attorney’s Office. The larger chamber allows grand jurors and witness to remain more than six feet apart from each other. Other aspects of the plan include using projectors to display documents submitted into evidence so that grand jurors do not have to repeatedly handle items and documents touched by other grand jurors when inspecting them.
All Assistant District Attorneys and Criminal Investigators have been issued personal protective equipment including masks, face-shields, gloves and hand sanitizer, and have received guidance on their proper use.
“Crimes have continued to be committed even as COVID-19 has drastically affected how people live their lives,” said District Attorney David Hoovler. “The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously made responding to crimes more challenging for us and our law enforcement partners. The health and safety of crime victims, witnesses, grand jurors and my staff is of paramount importance and I thank the Orange County Commissioner of Health for her guidance in formulating these policies, as well as the Orange County Legislature for allowing us to use their facilities. The Grand Jury is an indispensable tool for ensuring that offenders are brought to justice and the innocent are protected. I look forward to once again having a sitting Grand Jury in Orange County and will do everything in my power to ensure that everyone connected with grand jury proceedings stays safe.”