Resumption of Jury Trials in State Courts Pushed Out to November 9th

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State Court jury trials are no longer scheduled to start on October 23rd. The new earliest potential start date for jury trials in state courts is Monday, November 9th per the announcement of Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey on October 16th. The Supreme Judicial Court had previously authorized Phase 1 in the resumption of jury trial to begin no earlier than October 23rd.

Plans call for initially conducting a limited number of jury trials, with six-person juries, in a designated number of state courthouses. That plan was pursuant to recommendations in a report issued by the Jury Management Advisory Committee. Under that plan, certain courts deemed feasible to hold jury trials safely per CDC guidelines were going to be permitted to have one six-person jury trial per day with expansion eyed for February.

The Office of Jury Commissioner is canceling jurors summoned for the weeks of October 26th and November 2nd. Trial Court Chief Justice Carey stated: “We continue to review building systems to minimize any risk to jurors, court users and court staff” and “We are following CDC guidance in terms of occupancy levels and want to take a few more weeks to prepare. This is a complicated process, given the coordination required.”

Any trials scheduled prior to November 9th will be rescheduled. In the first phase, juries will be limited to six people and each court location will hold no more than one trial at a time. The second phase is currently scheduled to start in February, but that date could change based on public health conditions.

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