Massachusetts COVID Spike Delays Trial Period for Jury Trials
As detailed in our September 21, 2020 alert, the SJC previously implemented a structure for reintroducing jury trials in Massachusetts state courts beginning as early as October 23, 2020. Unfortunately, that goal has hit its first setback. On October 16, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey announced via press release that the earliest possible start date for jury trials had been delayed to Monday, November 9, 2020.
Chief Justice Carey’s announcement centered on the complexities of scheduling safe jury trials during the pandemic. "We continue to review building systems to minimize any risk to jurors, court users and court staff,” said Chief Justice Carey. "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 9 will be rescheduled, and any juror summons issued for such trials are being cancelled by the Office of the Jury Commissioner.
Continually updated information on the availability of in-person jury trials can be found on the firm's Massachusetts COVID-19 resource page.