Jury Management Advisory Committee Report and Recommendations on the Resumption of Jury Trials

The Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court asked the Jury Management Advisory Committee (JMAC) to provide guidance on how to recommence jury trials in Massachusetts courts in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Jury Management Advisory Committee Report and Recommendations

On July 31, 2020, the Jury Management Advisory Committee (JMAC) of the Supreme Judicial Court submitted its Report and Recommendations to on the Resumption of Jury Trials in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court.

Background

Jury trials in Massachusetts state courts had been postponed since March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The justices of the SJC asked the Committee to provide guidance on how to recommence jury trials in Massachusetts courts, and the JMAC report responded to that mandate.

The Committee consulted with public health officials, bar associations, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and others in developing their report, which sought to balance the need to resume jury trials with the need to protect the health and safety of jurors, litigants, lawyers, court personnel and the public. 

The Committee's comprehensive report included recommendations for a phased resumption of jury trials, and outlined recommended practices for each phase.

Response to Public Comments on the JMAC Report

On September 1, 2020, the JMAC submitted to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court a Response to Public Comments on the Report of the Jury Management Advisory Committee on the Resumption of Jury Trials in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Background

Before acting on the report, the SJC invited public comments on the proposed recommendations. Comments were accepted by the court through August 14, 2020. Read the public comments submitted to the court.

Preliminary Report on Phase 1 of the Resumption of Jury Trials

On February 8, 2021 the JMAC submitted to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court a Preliminary Report and Recommendations On Phase 1 of the Resumption of Jury Trials in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Background

Massachusetts courts began Phase 1 of the gradual resumption of jury trials during the week of January 11, 2021, conducting five jury trials. On January 25, 2021, in response to recommendations from court leaders and the JMAC, the SJC agreed to pause Phase 1 jury trials from January 26 through February 12, 2021.

The Justices needed to make a determination regarding the remainder of Phase 1 before February 12, after considering all relevant information available at that time, including conditions in the Commonwealth with respect to COVID-19. To assist the Justices in that determination, the Committee offered this preliminary evaluation of the resumption of jury trials thus far in Phase 1, and recommendations regarding further resumption of jury trials.

Final Report on Phase 1 of the Resumption of Jury Trials and Recommendations

Report and Recommendations on Phase 2 of the Resumption of Jury Trials

On May 13, 2021 the JMAC submitted to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court a Report and Recommendations on Phase 2 of the Resumption of Jury Trials in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Report and Recommendations on Phase 3 of the Resumption of Jury Trials

On August 31, 2021 the JMAC submitted to the Justices of the Supreme Judicial Court a Report and Recommendations on Phase 3 of the Resumption of Jury Trials in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Jury Management Advisory Committee

The JMAC, a statutory committee made up of six judges, advises the SJC and the Jury Commissioner on issues relating to juries. 

Learn more about the Committee

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