California gov gives chief justice broad powers during coronavirus

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who was given unprecedented powers by Gov. Gavin Newsom, voted with other judicial leaders Saturday to recommend that courts use remote hearings to get people out of overcrowded jails.

During an emergency meeting of the Judicial Council, Cantil-Sakauye said the lack of court hearings and the closure of state prisons to new inmates has left California’s jails overcrowded in potentially unsafe conditions.

She said she has received “no assurance” that jails in California are practicing social distancing, that inmates can be transported to courthouses with social distancing or that courtrooms can practice it.