The Criminal Docket


December 2005

Volume 1, Number 1


Judge Wesley is on vacation this month. However, he has contributed the recent policy memorandum on in-custody wheelchair defendants with an introduction by Judge Patricia Schnegg.

New Policy Re:  In-Custody Wheelchair and Stretcher Cases

The transportation of in-custody defendants who utilize wheelchairs as well as those requiring stretchers have presented a variety of logistical challenges over the years.   Unfortunately, obtaining the necessary medical clearances and coordinating the specialized vehicles needed to transport these in-custody defendants to and from the many criminal courts located throughout Los Angeles County has resulted in increasing delays.  In order to remedy this serious problem a new policy was implemented effective August 1, 2005 which provides that all cases involving in-custody defendants using wheelchairs and stretchers will be handled in the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice center.  This includes both misdemeanors and felonies. The policy in its entirety is set forth below.
As of August 1, 2005, all new and existing cases involving in-custody defendants who require wheelchairs or stretchers to come to court will be handled in the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center (CJC).  This new policy stems from ever increasing delays in obtaining daily medical clearances for these inmates and transportation problems resulting in custody defendants arriving at the county’s multiple courthouse locations long after jurors, litigants, and Judges are ready to begin their cases.
For this reason, the Court has found that good cause exists, absent special or extraordinary circumstances (for which special application may be made), to have all wheelchair and stretcher cases handled in CJC as follows:
1. Procedurally, arraignments will occur, as in the past, in the courthouse of the district where the case has been filed.  At the arraignment, if a “not guilty” plea is entered, all MISDEMEANOR cases involving in-custody wheelchair or stretcher defendants shall be set for pre-trial or other motions in Division 40 (CJC) no later than Day 15 of 30.
2. If the parties desire the felony case to be heard in the Early Disposition Court (EDP), the case shall be sent to Division 50 (CJC), prior to the preliminary hearing date as an agreed Day 0 of 10.  The clerk of the forwarding court shall fax to the Probation Department, a request for a pre-plea EDP report, showing the next appearance date and the new court location as CJC, Division 50.
3. All STRETCHER cases going directly to preliminary hearing shall be set in Department 100, no later than Day 5 of 10, and will be assigned to a courtroom by Department 100.
4. All WHEELCHAIR cases going directly from arraignment to preliminary hearing shall be set in one of the preliminary hearing courtrooms in CJC as Day 8 of 10 according to the following matrix:

 Cases Ending with the Digit


















Cases ending with the digit “9” or “0” will be set in the appropriate preliminary hearing courtroom based on the number to the immediate left of the last digit.  For example, if the case number is NA034729, the case would be set in Division 32 because the digit to the immediate left of the “9” is a “2”.
5. All existing or pending cases that have gone through arraignment as of August 1, 2005, shall be calendared in Department 100 on the next court date.  These cases will then be reassigned accordingly.
6. A completed “Notice of Case Transfer” form (attached) shall be faxed to the Office of the Criminal Courts Coordinator at FAX number (213) 346-1292, along with the complaint and any other pertinent documents.  The file shall be delivered to the appropriate receiving courtroom as soon as possible.
In cases involving unique circumstances, any party may specially request that the case remain in the original filing district.  These cases will be decided on a case-by-case basis by way of noticed motion in Department 100, depending upon the particular special needs of the parties or the court.  All requests to have the case remain in the filing district shall be heard by the Supervising or Assistant Supervising Judge of the Criminal Division within three (3) court days of the original arraignment.  The prosecuting attorney’s office may transfer the file to Department 100 for the hearing.  The requesting party must give notice to the opposing party and to Department 100.
If you have questions regarding wheelchair or stretcher cases, contact Criminal Courts Coordinator Judy Pieper at (213) 974-5511, or the Limited Jurisdiction Coordinator Margarita Reinoso at (213) 974-6154.
David S. Wesley
Supervising Judge, Criminal Division
                                                                                     Back to Top of this Section

Back to Beginning of This Issue