I Can’t Serve “My Time” - One Unanticipated Consequence of COVID-19

I Can’t Serve “My Time” - One Unanticipated Consequence of COVID-19

I have a client who agreed to enter a plea to a non-violent misdemeanor. In exchange, he agreed to be on six months of probation. The Judge also ordered him to report to the jail for a total of 10 days, though the Judge allowed my client to do “weekend” jail, meaning that he could report Friday night and be released Sunday night, for five weeks in a row.

The purpose of allowing a defendant to serve ‘weekends’ is to allow the defendant to keep their job. (And in case you are wondering, the days served can be any two consecutive days, they do not need to be Friday through Sunday.)

Now, here comes COVID-19. Understandably, the jail is not in a position to responsibly allow someone in off the street for five weekends in a row, to mix and mingle with the current inmates putting the inmates at additional risk for contracting COVID-19.

This leaves my client in between a rock and a hard place and has led to an unanticipated consequence. He has a job opportunity in another state; he has the right to travel and under ordinary circumstances he would be allowed to transfer his probation term to the appropriate probation office in his new state. But in this case, the local probation office is not comfortable allowing him to move before he does his 10 days in jail…and the jail is not allowing him to serve his weekends!

Unless the judge is willing to reconsider the 10-day weekend jail, my client will have to turn down the out-of-state job offer. While that may seem insignificant or, perhaps, even a “small price to pay for his wrong-doing,” in these uncertain times the unanticipated consequence of COVID-19 for this particular offender becomes a little harsher in light of the high levels of unemployment and under-employment.

This article is for general information only and is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice or solicitation of a prospective client. It should not be relied on for legal advice in any particular factual circumstance.