Jury Trial Suspension Due to COVID-19
Courts in the tri-state area have recently announced the suspension of jury trials due to the increase of COVID-19 cases. Philadelphia County and other Pennsylvania counties began resuming jury trials in September. On November 17, 2020, the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County suspended jury trials until January 2021. https://www.courts.phila.gov/juryservice/; https://www.courts.phila.gov/covid-19/t.
Additional Pennsylvania counties will likely implement suspensions of jury trials. Bucks County announced that no criminal or civil jury trials with a jury of 12 people will be heard prior to January 1, 2021, and no civil jury trials will be heard from November 30, 2020 until January 1, 2021. http://www.buckscounty.org/docs/default-source/coronavirus/emergencyorder22.pdf?sfvrsn=5a730eef_0
In New Jersey, Courts began resuming jury trials in September, and approximately one dozen jury trials were held. On November 16, 2020 the New Jersey Judiciary announced that all jury trials are suspended, but the current ongoing jury trials are permitted to continue. https://njcourts.gov/pressrel/2020/pr111620d.pdf?c=WX7
New York resumed jury trials in October, but the revised pandemic procedures of trial courts announced on November 13, 2020 noted that no prospective civil or criminal jury trials will go forward, and any pending jury trials will continue to conclusion.http://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/JT_Memo_Nov13-001.pdf.
All jurors in New York were asked not to appear as of November 16, 2020. http://www.nycourts.gov/whatsnew/pdf/JT_Memo_Nov13-001.pdf. It is probable that many states will suspend jury trials due to the rising cases of coronavirus, and the Courts concerns for public health.
Special thanks to Emily Finnegan for her contribution to this post. For more information, please contact Thomas Bracken.