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Guidance

Guidance Court Safety Protocols as of 6/1/2021

Date: 06/01/2021
Referenced Sources: Court system response to COVID-19

Trial Court COVID safety protocols effective June 1, 2021 for external stakeholders

Table of Contents

Overview

The Trial Court does not currently have the ability to confirm who is vaccinated and who is not, therefore the protocols for courthouses are as follows. These protocols will be monitored to achieve the appropriate balance of safety and reevaluated as circumstances change.

Masks, distancing, screening

  • Employees, court users and other individuals who work in or visit the courthouse must wear masks and must practice social distancing.
  •  Occupancy limits, plexiglass and current screening protocols remain in effect.
    • maximum courthouse occupancy / social distancing data will enable local managers to determine reasonable levels based on flow of traffic.

Lock-up occupancy

  • Multiple detainees are allowed in a cell where social distancing is possible.
  • Court Officers and detainees are required to wear masks at all times in the lockup and while Court Officers escort detainees to and from the courtroom.

All jury trials and evidentiary hearings

  • Judges who have been fully vaccinated may remove their masks while speaking and may allow mask removal as follows:
    • counsel while speaking, provided that all counsel who have speaking roles in the trial or hearing have been fully vaccinated;
    • witnesses while testifying, including jurors during individual voir dire;
    • during jury impanelment, counsel, a party or witness, briefly and without speaking, for the purpose of permitting potential jurors to determine if they may have a disqualifying relationship with the person; and
    • a criminal defendant or juvenile, if identification is a live issue at trial and jurors’ view of that person is necessary to enable jurors to resolve that issue.
  • Except as set forth above, all persons must wear masks at all times during jury trials and evidentiary hearings.
  • Courthouses not previously approved for jury trials will be reviewed to determine the feasibility of resuming jury trials in those courthouses.
Referenced Sources:
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