DMV FURTHER EXTENDS EXPIRING DRIVERS LICENSES

RESIDENTS, HEALTHCARE GROUPS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO RESTAURANT AND RETAIL REOPENINGS

HEAT WAVE MAY BREAK RECORDS THIS WEEK

FLAGS FLY AT HALF-STAFF THROUGH MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND TO HONOR CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS AND MILITARY KILLED SERVING U.S.

REV. SHANE PROTESTS CUTS TO LIBRARY FUNDING ON BIRTHDAY OF MALCOLM X

EL CAJON APPROVES RENT AND UTILITY ASSISTANCE: FUNDS LIMITED TO FIRST 150 APPLICANTS STARTING MAY 26

VIEJAS CASINO REOPENING BALANCES ECONOMIC NEED AND PUBLIC SAFETY

PRESCRIBED BURN IN CUYAMACA AREA DID NOT JUMP CONTAINMENT LINE, CAL FIRE SAYS, BUT EXTRA RESOURCES WERE CALLED

OUR GUIDE TO LOCAL FARMS AND FARM-FRESH PRODUCTS SOLD DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS

STATE APPROVES SAN DIEGO PLAN TO REOPEN DINE-IN RESTAURANTS AND IN-STORE RETAIL SHOPPING

FIVE-STORY MIXED USE COMPLEX IN LEMON GROVE IS A GO

LOCAL WRITERS AND TEACHERS HELP OTHERS THROUGH THE SMALL MOVEMENT

News

VEHICLE ACCESS CLOSED AT ALL 280 STATE PARKS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Lake Cuyamaca in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is among sites now closed to vehicle access.

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – California State Parks announced today that vehicle access is shut down to all 280 state parks due to visitors not following social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 outbreak. In San Diego County, state parks include Cuyamaca Rancho, Anza Borrego Desert, and San Pasqual Battlefield state parks as well as state beaches at Cardiff, Carlsbad and Torrey Pines.


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TONIGHT ON TV: ELTON JOHN AND OTHER STARS PERFORM IN “FOR AMERICA” CONCERT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Elton John in concert in San Diego

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – Viewers around the world can tune in on their TVs tonight (Sunday 6 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Fox) to watch “Living Room Concert For America.” The free concert, organized by Elton, will feature music superstars and will encourage viewers/listeners to donate to benefit Feeding America and First Responder Cihldren’s Foundation.

The musicians will be performing in their own living rooms, since large gatherings such as concerts in arenas or stadiums are banned.  Participating musicians including Mariah Carey, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw and Billie Joe Armstrong as well as Elton John and many other performers.

Ellen DeGeneres, Lady Gaga, Ken Jeong, Ryan Seacrest, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone will also be special guests during the “Living Room Concert.”


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GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM ANNOUNCES MAJOR FINANCIAL RELIEF PACKAGE: 90-DAY MORTGAGE PAYMENT RELIEF DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Newsom announces financial institutions will provide relief for vast majority of Californians; financial institutions agree not to negatively impact credit reports as a result of accepting payment relief

By Miriam Raftery

File photo during rally in Ramona to stop foreclosures during prior mortgage foreclosure crisis

March 29, 2020 (Sacramento) -- Governor Gavin Newsom announced on March 25 that financial institutions will provide major financial relief for millions of Californians suffering financially as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Newsom secured support from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers to protect homeowners. (The order does not apply to commercial mortgages, however some cities have adopted broader protections.)

“Millions of California families will be able to take a sigh of relief,” said Governor Newsom. “These new financial protections will provide relief to California families and serve as a model for the rest of the nation. I thank each of the financial institutions that will provide this relief to millions of Californians who have been hurt financially from COVID-19.”

Under the Governor’s proposal, Californians who are struggling with the COVID-19 crisis may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:


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GOVERNOR NEWSOM TAKES EXECUTIVE ACTION TO ESTABLISH A STATEWIDE MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS THROUGH MAY 31

Renter must notify landlord within a week of when rent is due, if they can’t pay due to COVID-19, to be eligible for the eviction freeze

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2020 (Sacramento)--Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters in California affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020.

The order prohibits landlords from evicting residential tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts.  It does not protect commercial tenants, however.

It also requires residential renters to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19 such as because of job layoff, cuts in hours, business closures, medical expenses, childcare due to school closures for parents still working in critical jobs, or other impacts related to the pandemic.

The tenant would be required to retain documentation that their inability to pay rent is due to COVID-19, such as termination notices, pay stubs, bank notices, medical bills, or other proof.


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COUNTY’S STAY-HOME ORDER EXTENDED INDEFINITELY

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – As local COVID-19 cases climb to 488, including seven deaths, the County has extended its existing public health order indefinitely. The order was originally issued only until March 31.

The newest deaths include a man in his 20s who died in Riverside County and a man in his 80s with underlying medical conditions.

 “Just these two deaths reflect the sober reality that we are facing, that COVID-19 can affect individuals of all ages,” said Nick Yphantides, County chief medical officer. Locally, the death rate is 1.4%, or 14 times higher than the death rate from flu.

In just the past 24 hours before yesterday’s press conference, 71 new cases were diagnosed locally.  Most, 57.4%, are in men and nearly 20% required hospitalization, with 8.6% in intensive are.

The public health order will require that non-essential business stay closed including bars, restaurants for dining in services, gyms, fitness centers and more. Schools must also stay homes.


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SAN DIEGO COUNTY REFUGEE FAMILIES EMERGENCY FUND SEEKS DONATIONS TO HELP LOCAL FAMILIES DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

East County News Service

Photo by Rachel Williams: Syrian refugee children in El Cajon

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – Refugees are among the hardest hit among our local residents impacted by COVID-19 shutdown orders. These are immigrants legally admitted to the U.S. after suffering war, famine, or other life-threatening hardships, primarily from the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

To help these new Americans, Partnership for Advancement of New Americans, in partnership with other refugee assistance organizations, has launched the San Diego County Refugee Assistance Fund.  Every penny will be donated directly to help a local refugee family.

You can donate here:  https://www.panasd.org/covidfund?fbclid=IwAR0sorX-O-fc-5H3hDa6fvN9TbmJqJ1fCEE3gPWR3_GRfDhyPl4mC8uB3-s

Their goal is to raise $100,000 so that they can support 100 families with grants of $1,000 each. In the first three days, over $80,000 has been raised.

According to their website:

"COVID-19 presents tremendous challenges for already struggling refugee families.

"The majority of San Diego’s refugee workers are in the restaurant, hotel, and transportation industries hardest hit by the pandemic. Even with the City of San Diego taking action to halt evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs, people already struggling to make ends meet are now managing reduced work hours or furloughs, school closures, childcare challenges, and food scarcity. Community members have lost their jobs, drivers are facing major disruption with Uber and Lyft, and families have children that need to complete school assignments online, but don't have internet connectivity at home.


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FIRE DESTROYS SPRING VALLEY HOME AFTER LIKELY LIGHTNING STRIKE

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: San Miguel Fire on Instagram
 
March 28, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A Spring Valley couple has been treated for smoke inhalation after escaping their Spring Valley home during a fire around 3:45 a.m. on Friday. The couple reported hearing a loud noise believed to be a lightning strike, followed by smelling smoke. 

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A HAIRY PROBLEM: WHAT TO DO WITH BARBER SHOPS AND SALONS SHUT DOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Creative Commons via Bing 

 

March 28, 2020 (San Diego) – As the COVID-19 stay-home order drags on, with barber shops and hair salons shut down, you may feel ready to pull a paper bag over your head and cut eyeholes to hide bad-hair-days that are now every day.  

Here are a few other options.


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FREE DOG FOOD FOR BACKCOUNTRY RESIDENTS

East County News Service
 
March 27, 2020 (Alpine) – Residents of Alpine, Descanso, Pine Valley and backcountry communities in East County can receive free dog food at Natural Instincts Healthy Pet Center in Alpine. 
 
The shop on Alpine Boulevard e-mailed area residents that it has teamed up with PAWS, a San Diego rescue group, to buy discounted dog food to give out for those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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SAN DIEGO COVID-19 CASES RISE TO 417; THREE NEW DEATHS INCLUDING PHARMACY TECHNICIAN, 25

East County News Service

March 27, 2020 (San Diego) – Today, 76 new cases of COVID-19 in San Diego County have been confirmed, bringing the total to 417.  Three more San Diegans have died from complications of COVID-19, bringing the region’s total deaths to six, County Health and Human Services Agency announced. 


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NURSE AT LAS COLINAS WOMEN’S DETENTION FACILITY TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

Two other Sheriff’s employees await test results
 
By Miriam Raftery
Photo credit: Google maps
 
March 26, 2020 (Santee) – A nurse who works at the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee tested positive yesterday for COVID-19. She has been isolated at home since March 22, when she began feeling ill.  
 
The Las Colinas facility is the primary point of intake for women prisoners in San Diego County.
 
According to a press statement issued by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, its Detention Services Bureau has identified all inmates and staff who may have come into close contact with this nurse. 
 

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HOW TO REMOVE ACRYLIC NAILS AT HOME

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 27, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) Salons have been deemed non-essential businesses under Governor Gavin Newsom’s classification of businesses during this time of the COVID shutdown. That stated, many people may still have acrylic nails that are nearing the end of their shelf-life.

Acrylic nails are typically refilled every one to two weeks.  But now this nail maintenance timeline has been disrupted. 

Here are some tips on removing those tips supplied by Kiarasky Nails TV: 

 

 

 

1. Remove nail polish with polish remover or gently file off.

2. Soak nail in an acetone-soaked pad, wrapped in foil for 10-15 minutes.

3. Let soak until nail visibility appears softened.


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SAN DIEGO COVID-19 UPDATE: 341 CASES, 3 DEATHS

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2020 (San Diego) – As of March 26th, San Diego County health officials report 341 confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus among county residents. Three area residents have died, all elderly individuals.


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CORONAVIRUS CRISIS COULD ADD UP TO $251 BILLION TO NATION’S COMMERCIAL HEALTHCARE MARKETS IN FIRST YEAR OF PANDEMIC

Source: Covered California

March 27, 2020 (Sacramento) -- Covered California on Monday released the first national projection of health care costs due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The analysis estimates the projected costs for 170 million Americans in the commercial market — which includes the individual, small-group and large-group markets — for testing, treatment and care specifically related to COVID-19 ranges from a low of $34 billion to $251 billion or more in the first year of the pandemic.


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NEED HEALTH INSURANCE? COVERED CALIFORNIA EXTENDS DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR COVERAGE TO JUNE 30

 

East County News Service

March 27, 2020 (Sacramento) – If you lack health insurance or lost it due to the COVID-19 crisis, Covered California has extended the enrollment deadline to June 30th.  If you already have a Covered California plan, you may be eligible for a reduction in premiums if your income has gone down substantially, such as due to a business shut-down or job loss To apply or learn more visit www.CoveredCA.com or call 1-800-300-1506.

From now until June 30, anyone who meets Covered California’s eligibility requirements can enroll in health care coverage, similar to the rules in place during the annual open-enrollment period.  There are also recently added changes so that some who would not have applied for subsidies in the past can now qualify.


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LOCAL DISTILLERY MISADVENTURE & CO. SWITCHES PRODUCTION TO MAKE HAND SANITIZERS

East County News Service

March 27, 2020 (Vista) -- Due to world-wide sanitizer shortages, the sustainable Misadventure & Co. distillery has switched all production to make hand sanitizer in accordance with Food and Drug Administration and WHO guidelines. The small company has made large strides to make this product available for public sale as quickly as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic ad will ship nationwide.


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SHERIFF GORE: GUN STORES CAN SELL DURING COVID-19, BUT MUST PROVIDE SOCIAL DISTANCING

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo Courtesy: San Diego Sheriff's Dept.
 
March 26, 2020 (San Diego) – The California Governor’s stay-home order during the COVID-19 emergency allows Sheriff’s to determine whether gun stores are essential businesses. San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore announced that local gun stores an remain open, provided they comply with the county’s public health order requirements for social distancing and consider these alternative means of operation. 
 
No groups of 10 or more people are allowed in any space and at least six feet must be maintained between people.  As a result, Sheriff Gore says, “I am asking all retail firearms establishments to look at alternative sales options which might include scheduling appointments” to prevent lines and comply with health requirements.
 

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WRONG-WAY DRIVER, SUSPECTED OF DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE, CAUSES HEAD-ON CRASH ON I-8 IN LA MESA

By: Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Head On Collision - Wikipedia Commons (generic stock photo)
 
March 26, 2020 (La Mesa) – An SUV traveling the wrong-way on Interstate 8 just east of 70th Street in La Mesa struck a red BMW head-one shortly before midnight last night. Both motorists sustained major life-threatening injuries and were transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego.
 
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Travis Garrow, the CHP began getting calls at 11:56 p.m. reporting the SUV traveling west in the eastbound lanes of I-8.  Two minutes later, witnesses reported a head-on collision.

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SANTEE HALTS EVICTIONS OF RESIDENTS, BUT NOT BUSINESSES, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS IN FIRST VIRTUAL MEETING

By Mike Allen

March 26, 2020 (Santee) -- Responding to a still-evolving global pandemic crisis, the Santee City Council has approved a 60-day temporary suspension on evictions of tenants in the city who prove their financial situation has been damaged by the coronavirus.

The Council approved a temporary moratorium on evictions at its March 25 meeting by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Rob McNelis opposed. It was the first ever gathering that was done using teleconferencing technology allowing the five elected members and other staffers to “meet” from remote locations.


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CAMPO TRIBE'S FORMER CHAIR LA CHAPPA AND 64 MEMBERS PETITION FOR SPECIAL MEETING OVER ALLEGEDLY “CORRUPT ACTIONS” OF LEADERSHIP UNDER CHAIRMAN CUERO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Monique La Chappa

March 26, 2020 (Campo) – After Campo tribal chair Harry Paul Cuero Jr. reportedly refused to recognize a motion or allow a vote on a petition to overturn approval of the new Campo Wind project, as ECM reported, a new petition (posted below this article) has reportedly been presented to Cuero which seeks to remove him and potentially other executive committee members from office.

The petition, which former Chair Monique La Chappa says has been signed by 64 tribal general counsel members, calls for a “vote to stop the corrupt actions of our Campo tribal leadership.” She indicates 64 signatures meets the threshhold which would mandate that  a meeting and vote be held.

But she and others fear the Chair may not respect the tribal constitution or federal laws, citing a pattern of disregarding such requirements in recent years in what La Chappa contends amounts to "a dictatorship," she told ECM an in exclusive interview.


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JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES PROVIDES FOOD, MEALS AND RIDES TO ANY SAN DIEGANS IN NEED DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

East County News Service

March 26, 2020 (San Diego) -- Jewish Family Service of San Diego (JFS) has expanded its most vital programs to serve families and individuals of all faiths, background and ages, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and wants San Diegans to knowFood, meals and transportation are available for those in critical need.


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BANKS AGREE TO CORONAVIRUS MORTGAGE PAYMENT RELIEF IN CALIFORNIA AMID PUSH FOR EVICTION BAN

By Laurel Rosenhall | CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Aerial view of suburban neighborhood street with big villas next to each other in Black Mountain, San Diego, California, USA. 

March 26, 2020 (San Diego) - With 1 million Californians filing for unemployment over the last two weeks, several major banks have agreed to delay foreclosures and offer mortgage relief to homeowners impacted by the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.


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REV. SHANE HARRIS AND PEOPLE'S ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE LAUNCH "WISH LIST SENIORS FUND” TO DELIVER FOOD AND TOILETRIES TO SENIORS’ HOMES

East County News Service
 
March 26, 2020 (San Diego) - Civil rights activist and President of People's Alliance for Justice Shane Harris has launched a new fund to serve vulnerable seniors countywide during the COVID-19 Coronavirus public health crisis.  Starting today, volunteers will deliver toiletries and food to seniors age 65 and older at their homes.

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SHARP REES-STEALY TEMPORARILY CLOSING SOME FACILITIES IN LA MESA AND CHULA VISTA

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2020 (La Mesa) – Sharp Rees-Stealy has announced that due to the COVID-19 emergency, starting March 26 it will temporarily close its La Mesa West facility on El Cajon Blvd. (though the Grossmont facilities will remain open).  The medical group will also temporarily shut down most services at its Chula Vista facility, except for occupational medicine, pharmacy and urgent care, starting March 27.


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297 LOCAL COVID-19 CASES: COUNTY OFFERS ADVICE ON HOW LONG TO STAY ISOLATED IF YOU’VE HAD SYMPTOMS

East County News Service

 

March 25, 2020 (San Diego) – With COVID-19 testing availability limited and 297 local cases confirmed, County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten is advising people who experience mild to moderate symptoms of possible COVID-19 to stay at home for at least seven days after symptoms appear and three days after respiratory symptoms have improved (such as cough and shortness of breath) and fever is completely gone, without the use of fever-reducing medications


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GARNISHMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS FOR STUDENT LOANS IN DEFAULT SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY, AMAC SAYS IT WILL FIGHT TO MAKE IT PERMANENT

Source:   Association of Mature American Citizens 

Image by 3D Animation Production Company on Pixabay

March 25, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The Trump Administration has put a timely halt on the ability of the government to garnish Social Security benefits to pay for defaulted student loans for an indefinite period during the COVID crisis, reports the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. 


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COUNTY NOW HAS 242 CASES OF COVID-19, INCLUDING TWO INFANTS

Cases expand countywide including more East County communities

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – The number of COVID-19 cases in our region continues to grow at a steep pace.  San Diego County now has 242 confirmed cases, of whom 226 are county residents. Two of the new cases are in infants. Heath experts warn the actual number of cases could be ten times higher, since not enough tests are available and thus testing is being done primarily on those hospitalized with respiratory distress.


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COUNTY REPORTS SECOND DEATH; SHERIFF SEEKS CLARIFICATION ON STATUS OF GUN STORES

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Sheriff Bill Gore speaks at Tuesday’s media briefing. Image from live stream

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) - Health officials reported Tuesday a second death from coronavirus disease involving a San Diego resident, and said two new cases involve infants.

Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s Public Health Officer, said the latest victim was a man in his late 70s. The death of a man in his early 70s was reported Sunday.


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BORED AT HOME? FREE CLASSES ONLINE IN WRITING, ART, SCIENCE AND MUSIC

Some of history’s greatest works were created during past epidemics

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Playwright William Shakespeare and physicist Isaac Newton are among those inspired to creative endeavors while in quarantine (public domain images via Wikipedia)

March 24, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Creativity can blossom out of hardship. As you’re hunkered down at home due to the COVID-19 epidemic, consider this: during historic epidemic eras, some of the world’s most famous writers, artists and scientists drew inspiration for their greatest works. We've provided a few of their stories, along with some links to free online classes in writing, art, science and music to spark your own creative impulses.


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COVID-19 PROMPTS PRISONER RELEASES, COURT CLOSURES, SUSPENSION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

 

Update: All jury trials in Calif. Superior courts have been delayed for 60 days, per an order issued today by California's Chief Justice and Chair of the Judicial Council

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Scales of justice, Creative Commons via Bing

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – The COVID-19 emergency is having major impacts on the criminal justice system. 

Locally, the Superior Court is shut down for all but emergency procedures.  Trials are suspended. Public defender lawyers are barred from visiting defendants in county jails.  The Sheriff and District Attorney have announced plans to release some prisoners awaiting arraignment and some medically vulnerable inmates.

 At the federal level, the Department of Justice has asked Congress to grant federal judges  sweeping new powers to detain people indefinitely during emergencies even if they have not yet been charged with a crime, halt court proceedings, and prohibit anyone with COVID-19 from seeking asylum in the U.S., among other changes that concern civil liberties experts. The Trump administration has also indicated it will arrest anyone who crosses the border seeking asylum.


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