COVID-19 Spike Shuts Down Jury Trials Again

A trial to a jury has been the backbone of our legal system for many years in both Federal and State courts. With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the jury trial system to a halt, many  complex issues surrounding the resumption of jury trials during the COVID-19 pandemic are problematic and create a number of practical and jurisdictional problems for the Courts and the parties.  Although some Courts have taken steps to resume jury trials, many Courts are finding this practice difficult due to the spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the country.

Some Federal and State courts have experimented with masks, social distancing and limiting the number of persons allowed in the courtroom at any one time.  Other Courts are anticipating a potential option of a “virtual trial” by using Zoom or another form of teleconferencing technology.  However, this potential solution is not without drawbacks and concerns including constitutional issues and concerns about the parties not getting a fair trial.

In the past, the idea of a virtual jury trial was not an option most judges or attorneys ever considered.  Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic upending the legal system, with the majority of in-person proceedings being suspended, trial courts, judges and attorneys will now be forced to look at alternatives for when and how civil jury trials will be able to safely resume.

Like many other areas of life affected by COVID-19, the Courts and attorneys will need to find new ways to combat the difficulties COVID-19 has caused to our legal system.  As a premier law firm in California, Borton Petrini is dedicated to remaining in the forefront of emerging technological advances in order to provide our clients with the utmost legal representation.

If you have any questions regarding how COVID-19 has impacted the legal system, you should contact the Borton Petrini, LLP near you.

 

 

Jeff Dains is a Partner in our San Bernardino office who handles civil litigation, insurance defense and family law.

 

 

 

Legal Disclaimer: Please be informed that legislation and laws are rapidly developing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Therefore, the legal analysis that is being provided is based on the analysis of the current legislation and current agency guidance, as it stands at this moment.  Additional legislation and/or changes to current legislation may impact the information being given herein.  This article is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.