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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

Montana High Court Asks Judges To Consider Releasing Inmates

Butte-Silver Bow Detention Center
Josh Burnham
/

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The chief justice of the Montana Supreme Court is asking city and county judges to consider releasing from jail as many offenders as they can to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Chief Justice Mike McGrath wrote to judges asking them to review their jail rosters for inmates that could be released.

“Because of the high risk of transmittal of COVID-19, not only to prisoners within correctional facilities but staff and defense attorneys as well, we ask that your review your jail rosters and release, without bond, as many prisoners as you are able, especially those being held for non-violent offenses,” McGrath wrote in the letter dated last Friday.

McGrath previously asked judges to reset civil hearings for cases with hearing dates through at least April 30 and urged prosecutors and defense attorneys to review pending criminal cases to determine if they should go forward and to find ways to delay trials. He also urged courts to conduct as much business as possible via video.

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