WATERTOWN — All in-person jury trials in the state will again be suspended starting Monday due to “adverse trends” in the coronavirus transmission rates.
Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks said in a statement that state’s Unified Court System’s decision came following discussions with consultants and after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo issued a directive limiting the congregation of groups of people in public and private locations to no more than 10 people.
While the court system has remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it was operating on a limited basis and only for essential matters throughout the latter part of March into May. On May 15, Judge Marks and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced that judges and court staff could start returning to courthouses, although much court activity has remained virtual.
Since that time, criminal jury trials had resumed in New York City, but that will cease Monday for both criminal and civil trials. Judge Marks said no prospective jurors in the state will be summoned “until further notice,” although pending criminal and civil jury trials will continue to conclusion.
The directive also closes down grand jury action, as no new prospective jurors will be summoned for service. Again, pending grand juries will complete their work. All future bench trials and hearings will be conducted virtually.
Judge Marks wrote that socially distanced in-person court conferences will continue, with “decisions about possible adjustment of staffing levels” to be addressed in the coming days.
“These practices may be further amended as the public health situation evolves,” Judge Marks wrote.