Justice delayed: Virus crisis upends courts system across US

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BOSTON (AP) – The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the U.S. legal system, creating constitutional dilemmas as people accused of crimes have their trials delayed.

The public health crisis could build a legal backlog that overwhelms courts across the country, leaving some defendants behind bars longer and forcing prosecutors to decide which cases to pursue and which to let slide.

Judges from California to Maine have postponed trials and nearly all in-person hearings to keep crowds from packing courthouses. Many judges are holding hearings over the phone or video chat to keep all cases from grinding to a halt.

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