Virus-related suspension of legal deadlines worries ACLU

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A civil rights group says steps taken by Louisiana’s governor to fight the spread of the new coronavirus could leave people stuck in state jails for weeks or months without formal legal charges.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana makes the complaint in a letter released Wednesday.

An executive order from Gov. John Bel Edwards suspends legal deadlines until at least April 13.

The ACLU says that means many people arrested and jailed around the state could languish behind bars without formal charges being filed by local prosecutors.

The ACLU also is calling for development of a plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in local jails, state prisons and juvenile lockups.

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