The catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Ida has reduced the Court’s ability to obtain an adequate spectrum of jurors and hinders the ability of counsel and Court staff to be safely present in the courtroom. Additionally, a continuance of jury trials is necessary to combat the spread of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), given the severity of risks posed to the public, Court staff, and other Court agencies, and considering the recent surge of COVID-19 cases within the thirteen parishes encompassing the Eastern District of Louisiana caused by the Delta variant. Accordingly, the undersigned as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana hereby orders as follows:
1. All civil and criminal jury trials are suspended until November 1, 2021 and will be reset by each presiding judge. Attorneys should contact the presiding judges regarding any other deadlines that might be affected by this order.
2. With regard to criminal trials, this order extends criminal trial deadlines previously addressed in General Orders 21-11 and 21-12. Due to the Court’s reduced ability to safely obtain an adequate spectrum of jurors and the effect of Hurricane Ida and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases on the ability of counsel and Court staff to be safely present in the courtroom, the time period of the postponements implemented by this general order will be excluded under the Speedy Trial Act, as the Court specifically finds that the ends of justice served by ordering the postponements outweigh the best interest of the public and any defendant’s right to a speedy trial, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A).
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