The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) pandemic continues to be an ongoing national emergency under the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1601, et seq. The Judicial Conference of the United States found that “emergency conditions due to the national emergency declared by the President with respect to COVID-19 will materially affect the functioning of the federal courts generally,” and this statement remains in effect today. However, the State of Alaska has recently seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases, including a 28% decrease in cases in the past week, a decrease in the cumulative case rate per 100,000 people, and a decrease in the strain on hospitals’ staffing and resources.1 Moreover, the COVID-19 vaccine recently became available to all Alaskans aged five years and older.2 The Court must balance public health and safety with its duty to protect criminal defendants’ rights and to resolve cases in a timely manner.
Wednesday, November 24, 2021