COVID-19 changes Federal Prosecutions

CARES Act legislation passed during the pandemic crisis has modified federal criminal practice. These provisions are in operation only during the emergency period. The three areas modified are home confinement, visitation, and court conferencing:


  1. Expanded home confinement: during the emergency period, should the U.S. Attorney General determine that “emergency conditions “will materially affect the functioning of the Bureau” The Bureau of Prisons Director may extend the maximum time defendant serves at home.


  1. Visitation: The Bureau of prisons may provide free telephone and video visitation during the emergency period


  1. Conferencing: Video conferencing with the courts will be provided if reasonably available. Video conferencing may only take place with the consent of the defendant upon consultation with counsel. The cover proceedings include the following areas: detention hearings; Pre-Trial Release Revocation; Initial Appearances; Preliminary Hearings; Waiver of Indictments; Arraignments, Probation and Revocations; Rule 40 Appearances; Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act Proceedings; Felony Pleas and Sentencings.


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