State courts halt further jury trials, grand jury sessions


A judge’s gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As COVID-19 cases spike, New York courts are taking action. Effective Monday, no one will be summoned for prospective jury trials in both criminal or civil cases.

No new grand juries, which weigh potential charges against criminal suspects, will be summoned for service effective Monday as well.

Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks says jury trials and grand jury sessions already underway will continue until conclusion.

Non-jury trials, where a defendant has chosen to let a judge determine guilt or innocence, will be held virtually beginning Monday.

In a memo posted to the state’s Unified Court Systems website Marks said, “In light of recent adverse trends in coronavirus transmission rates in New York State, discussions with our consultants and Governor Cuomo’s most recent directives limiting congregation of groups of people in public and private locations, we are revising certain UCS statewide operational practices in the trial courts.”

Marks says these changes could be amended as the public health situation evolves.

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