BOSTON - The chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, F. Dennis Saylor IV, has extended COVID-19 restrictions through at least July 16.
The order, the tenth supplemental order concerning video and telephone conferencing for felony pleas and sentencing, prohibits some in-person hearings in federal court in Massachusetts.
In the order, Saylor wrote, "I hereby specifically find that felony pleas under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and felony sentencings under Rule 32 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure cannot be conducted in person in the District of Massachusetts without seriously jeopardizing public health and safety."
The order allows plea or sentencing hearings by telephone or video conference if the district judge find that a "case cannot be further delayed without serious harm to the interests of justice." The hearings may only take place with the consent of the defendant in the case.
Saylor's order is contingent on the President or the Judicial Conference of the United States terminates emergency authority under the National Emergencies Act.