The order (PDF) does not commute people’s sentences, but instead orders their temporary release during the COVID-19 public health crisis. At the conclusion of the emergency, judges will determine whether any sentences should be commuted. The Order takes extraordinary steps to prevent unnecessary incarceration or superfluous interactions with the criminal justice system altogether during this time, such as suspending most outstanding warrants and preventing in-person reporting to probation officers.
The order coincides with heroic efforts from the Office of the Public Defender to secure the release of many of their clients from pretrial detention in county jails. The efforts of public defenders have been met with success in many counties due to the defenders’ tireless work, as well as prosecutors’ understanding of the practical benefits of reducing jail populations by reconsidering requests for pretrial detention in this unprecedented time.
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