Judges and litigants are attempting to call each other’s bluff. The pattern often plays out as follows: Court sets trial; litigants move to continue, citing COVID-19; judges deny continuance; matter resolves. We saw this play out last week in a criminal matter in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. With trial set for October 13, the parties jointly moved on September 22 to continue the jury trial. The US attorney and the federal public defender service both told the court that they needed four more weeks due to pandemic restrictions. On September 23, Judge William Young denied the motion without comment. Six days later, the defendant pled guilty.

Meanwhile, in Judge Allison Burrough’s session, a criminal jury trial that was set for September 15, and then today, is now set for October 13.