This page, Supreme Judicial Court Issues Orders to Protect Public Health by Postponing All New Jury Trials and Limiting Entry to Courthouses Amidst Pandemic, is offered by
Press Release

Press Release Supreme Judicial Court Issues Orders to Protect Public Health by Postponing All New Jury Trials and Limiting Entry to Courthouses Amidst Pandemic

For immediate release:
3/13/2020
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
  • Massachusetts Court System
  • Executive Office of the Trial Court
  • Superior Court
  • District Court
  • Boston Municipal Court
  • Housing Court
  • Juvenile Court
  • Office of Jury Commissioner

Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Issues Orders to Protect Public Health by Postponing All New Jury Trials and Limiting Entry to Courthouses Amidst Pandemic

Jennifer Donahue and Erika Gully-Santiago

BOSTON, MAThe Supreme Judicial Court under its superintendence authority today issued two orders regarding the courts and the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The purpose of the orders is to protect public health by reducing the risk of exposure to the virus and slowing its spread.

The SJC ordered that, effective immediately, all empanelments in jury trials, in both criminal and civil cases, are postponed until no earlier than April 21, 2020. This order does not affect any case in which a jury has already been empaneled or where a jury has been selected for empanelment; such cases shall proceed through verdict. In addition, no new grand juries will be empaneled before April 21, 2020, and grand juries whose terms expire on or before April 21, 2020 will be extended until that date. In exceptional circumstances, a criminal defendant may seek an exception to the order postponing jury trials.  

In a separate order, the SJC ordered that, effective immediately, persons who have symptoms of, or any exposure to, COVID-19 may not enter a courthouse or other state court facility, including probation offices, until the SJC determines that it is safe to remove the restrictions. Persons attempting to enter a courthouse or other state court facility in violation of this order will be denied entry by security.

"We are taking these measures to balance the need to protect the health of court personnel, those who visit our courthouses, and the general public, while attempting to continue court operations to the extent practicable," said Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants. "This is a rapidly changing situation and we are prepared to take further steps as needed."

Additional details of the restrictions can be found in the orders linked below.

###

Media Contact for Supreme Judicial Court Issues Orders to Protect Public Health by Postponing All New Jury Trials and Limiting Entry to Courthouses Amidst Pandemic

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 

The Supreme Judicial Court is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court.

Massachusetts Court System 

The Massachusetts court system consists of the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, the Executive Office of the Trial Court, the 7 Trial Court departments, the Massachusetts Probation Service, and the Office of Jury Commissioner.

Executive Office of the Trial Court 

The Executive Office of the Trial Court facilitates communication and enables joint leadership of the Trial Court by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court and the Court Administrator.

Superior Court 

The Superior Court Department is a statewide court that handles both criminal and civil actions.

District Court 

The District Court Department hears a wide range of criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and other types of cases.

Boston Municipal Court 

The Boston Municipal Court Department serves the City of Boston, and handles both criminal and civil matters.

Housing Court 

The Housing Court hears eviction cases, small claims cases, and civil actions involving personal injury, property damage, breach of contract, discrimination, and other claims. The Housing Court also hears code enforcement actions and appeals of local zoning board decisions that affect residential housing. The Housing court is led by Chief Justice Timothy F. Sullivan and Deputy Court Administrator Benjamin O. Adeyinka. The Housing Court has 15 judges and covers all fourteen counties of the Commonwealth. The Housing Court has 6 divisions: Central, Eastern, Metro South, Northeast, Southeast, and Western.

Juvenile Court 

The Juvenile Court Department oversees civil and criminal matters statewide involving children including youthful offender, care and protection, and delinquency cases.

Office of Jury Commissioner 

The OJC provides randomly selected pools of jurors, representative of the communities from which they are drawn, to each of the state's Trial Jury and Grand Jury courts.
Feedback