“California Cases To Watch In 2021”


By: Dorothy Atkins

“Mary-Christine ‘M.C.’ Sungaila, chair of the appellate practice at Buchalter, said COVID-19 disruptions have lasted for so long that court dockets are overloaded and judges want to move ahead with in-person jury trials as best they can, with criminal cases taking priority.

Sungaila said she plans to follow Holmes’ criminal trial and others that are moving forward during the pandemic, not only because they are high-profile cases, but also because defense teams may raise novel legal challenges during trial or on appeal related to the procedures that courts adopt in response to the pandemic.

‘It will be interesting to see in that case and others what types of procedures are adopted post-trial and on appeal,’ Sungaila said.

Sungaila also noted that courts are considering keeping the press and public out of courtrooms during in-person trials, opting to instead broadcast courtroom proceedings online, which could potentially influence the outcome of a jury’s verdict.

‘I think it does have an impact if the press or public are allowed to be in the room,’ she said.”

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