Victims, witnesses and others having business with the district attorney’s office may now appear in person if they follow mandatory protocols implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19. These include wearing face coverings, answering health questions, temperature takings and maintaining social distancing.
The new protocols were instituted after consultation with the Orange County Commissioner of Health. Visitors will primarily be interviewed in conference rooms outside of the main district attorney’s office. These will be cleaned between meetings.
Most hallways have been designated as one-way to limit staff or visitors being in close proximity with others in the office.
District Attorney David M. Hoovler also announced that grand jury proceedings, which had been shut down due to the pandemic, are expected to resume shortly subject to the chief administrative judge approving plans to keep witnesses, grand jurors and staff safe during the proceedings.
The plan includes implementing all the same protocols listed above.
In addition, proceedings will initially be conducted in the legislative chambers, which is much larger room, allowing grand jurors and witness to remain more than six feet apart from each other. Projectors will be used to display documents submitted into evidence so grand jurors do not have to handle items.
“Crimes have continued to be committed even as COVID-19 has drastically affected how people live their lives,” said Hoovler. “The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously made responding to crimes more challenging for us and our law enforcement partners. The health and safety of crime victims, witnesses, grand jurors and my staff is of paramount importance.”