For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 30

imposed) and February (4,410 sentences imposed) 2020.10 In March 2020, corresponding with court
closures at the mid-point of the month, the number of sentences imposed (2,667) was roughly one-half
of the 2019 average. In April, only 717 sentences were imposed. Beginning in May 2020 the number of
numbersentences
of sentences
imposed
(5,806)
surpassed
those
any month
in 2019.
This suggests
courtsthose
have begun
imposed
began
to rise.
And in July,
theof
number
of sentences
imposed
(5,806) that
surpassed
to focus on catching up with their backlog of pending sentences. How long this trend will last, and the burden that
of any month in 2019. This suggests that courts have begun to focus on catching up with their backlog of
increased workloads may place on public defender offices, is unknown at this point.
pending sentences. How long this trend will last, and the burden that increased workloads may place on
public defender offices, is unknown at this point.

ExhibitExhibit
1: Number
of of
Sentences
Month
1: Number
Sentences Imposed
Imposed byby
Month
7,000

6,000
2019 Monthly Average =4,983

5,000
4,000
3,000
2,000
1,000
0

Jan

Feb

March

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

------------------------------------------------------- 2019 ---------------------------------------------------------

Jan

Feb

March April

May

June

July

------------------------------ 2020 -----------------------------

The pattern of decline in the number of sentences imposed beginning in March 2020 and a

subsequent
rebound
can
be found
across all
counties.
An examination
of sentences
by countyrebound
The pattern
of decline
in the
number
of sentences
imposed
beginning
in March 2020
and a subsequent
can be classification
found acrossreveals
all counties.
An examination
of earlier
sentences
bypopulous
county classification
thatbe
sentencing
that sentencing
rebounded
in less
counties. Thisreveals
trend may
a
rebounded
earlier
in
less
populous
counties.
This
trend
may
be
a
direct
result
of
how
COVID-19
has
spread
direct result of how COVID-19 has spread across the Commonwealth at different rates and has adversely across
the Commonwealth
at different
andpopulation
has adversely
affected
jurisdictions
with2 greater
For
affected jurisdictions
withrates
greater
density.
For example,
Exhibit
displayspopulation
the numberdensity.
of
11
example,
Exhibit
2
displays
the
number
of
sentences
imposed
in
Third
Class
Counties.
In
2019,
there
was
an
average
of
sentences imposed in Third Class Counties.11 In 2019, there was an average of 1,641 sentences imposed
1,641 sentences imposed per month. At the low point in April 2020, 237 sentences were imposed. In both June (1,909)
per month. At the low point in April 2020, 237 sentences were imposed. In both June (1,909) and July
and July (2,263) the number of sentences imposed exceeded the 2019 average. Courts in more rural jurisdictions (6th,
the number
of sentences
imposed
average.
Courts inimposed
more rural
jurisdictions
7th, and(2,263)
8th
County
Class courts)
saw a return
toexceeded
normal inthe
the2019
number
of sentences
beginning
in May.12
th th
th
(6 , 7 , and 8 County Class courts) saw a return to normal in the number of sentences imposed beginning
in May.12

Exhibit 2: Number of Sentences Imposed by Month by Third Class Counties
Exhibit 2: Number of Sentences Imposed by Month by Third Class Counties
2,500

2,000
2019 Monthly Average=1,641

1,500

1,000

3
500

0

Jan

Feb

March

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

----------------------------------------------------------- 2019 ---------------------------------------------------

30

Jan

Feb

March April

May

June

July

------------------------------ 2020 ----------------------------

To further illustrate the impact of COVID-19 on sentencing, Exhibit 3 shows the number of
sentences imposed by week in a Third Class county. During 2019 and the first 12 weeks of 2020 there is
weekly
variation lthat
For
The Defense
Vol.is5,most
Issuelikely
4 reflective of the episodic calendaring of sentencing hearings in this
county. When the court closed in the spring of 2020, the court only imposed a handful of sentences each



For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 1
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For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - Contents
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