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Felony hearings, guilty pleas to resume in Erie County courts this week

Individuals charged with crimes will be able to have felony hearings in courts in Erie County starting this week, the Erie County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday.

Those accused in criminal cases also will be able to enter guilty pleas to the charges against them, the District Attorney's Office said.

Both types of proceedings will be done in a "virtual courtroom setting."  Felony hearings for individuals who are not in custody will not be held, the office said in a news release.

The New York State Unified Court System suspended what were deemed nonessential court proceedings after March 16 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Courts in Erie County began using videoconferencing to conduct proceedings on April 3.

Masks must be worn by everyone who enters the Erie County Court building in downtown Buffalo. Individuals scheduled to testify will be provided masks by the District Attorney's Office if they don't arrive with one.

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