Jury trials in New York state have been suspended once again as the second wave of COVID-19 takes hold, Chief Justice Janet DiFiore said on Monday.
Courts resumed jury trials in September after many months of suspension due to capacity restrictions and fears of the virus spreading in confined environments such as courtrooms. As the state has handed down 47 judged trials since September and 12 more in New York City over the past month, DiFiore said the latest COVID-19 outbreak has forced state courts to postpone planning for new trials. in front of a jury on ice.
“Effective today, and until further notice, we are temporarily postponing the scheduling of new jury trials, and temporarily postponing the summons of new jurors,” DiFiore said on November 16. “The jury trials and bench trials that are currently underway are going to be allowed to proceed to completion. ”
The summons of new future grand jurors have also been suspended.
All newly started trials and hearings will now go through virtual hearings “unless authorized by our deputy chief administrative judges,” noted the chief justice.
“We are taking these steps in response to the increasing rate of COVID positivity, the growing number of communities facing COVID-19 clusters, the advice of our epidemiologist who has reviewed our relevant data, and the governor’s latest directive limiting in-person gatherings in commerce. and residential environments, ”added DiFiore.
The state justice system will continue to monitor the progress of COVID-19 in New York State before making “necessary adjustments” to the schedule. All grand jury and petit jury operations will resume once the courts find it safe to do so.
“As we have always said, our number one priority is the health and safety of our judges, our professional staff and the public we serve,” said DiFiore. “We will not endanger the health and well-being of anyone and we will do everything in our power to help prevent the spread and resurgence of COVID-19.”
This story originally appeared on amny.com.