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Judiciary Will Never Be The Same, Says Texas Supreme Court Justice

March 30, 2020

Jury trials have been discontinued, ongoing cases have been significantly delayed and courthouses all over the country are locked due to public safety concerns raised by the pandemic. Some judicial administrators fret about the possibility of assembling a jury with so many people sequestering, others point out that seating a jury of 12 is an ipso facto violation of social distancing guidelines. Dozens of federal courts have closed and 30 state court systems and the District of Columbia have either restricted or ended jury trials, according to the National Center for State Courts.  Lower federal courts are limiting proceedings involving more than 10 people. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts is asking federal district courts and appeals courts to encourage staff to work from home, limit jury proceedings to only “exceptional circumstances,” and utilize videoconferencing as much as possible. Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht tells ABC News, “We’re going to have to completely rethink how much has to be done in person, how much can be done using technology. That whole issue that we’ve just never paid much attention to, is going to be front and center going forward. Our operations will never be the same.”

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