I posted in June 2020 about conducting mental health evaluations on in-custody clients during the COVID-19 pandemic here. In some cases, evaluations have proceeded. In others, defense teams have sought motions to continue to the dangers inherent in-person mental health evaluations of in-custody clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This declaration by epidemiologist Eric T. Lofgren, Ph.D. was filed in a federal case. The motion to continue in this case was not granted, but the affidavit contains important information that counsel and experts should consider when contemplating conducting an in-person evaluation of an in-custody client. Counsel should consider additional precautions, including use of a similar declaration from an epidemiologist where a client has underlying medical conditions that the CDC has identified as increasing risk of severe COVID-19 illness.
As always, attorneys in need of expert assistance can reach out to me for help identifying an appropriate expert. I have identified several infectious disease experts who may be able to assist.