How COVID-19 Has Affected California Jury Trials

Many aspects of our lives have been altered or delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic — and jury duty is no exception.

In March, California State Courts announced an indefinite delay of jury trials in the majority of pending cases. Three months later, those trials are just now preparing to go ahead, as courts slowly move to reopen.

In a recent release, California State Courts outlined the steps that have been undertaken to resume jury trials safely. These include:

  • Remote completion of juror questionnaires and staggering juror reporting times
  • Providing screening, facemasks, hand sanitizer, and extra cleaning—particularly high-touch surfaces
  • Ensuring social distancing in courtrooms, jury assembly areas, elevators, and restrooms
  • Shortening the time for verbal voir dire or questioning of jurors

The protocols used by courts will often depend on your local jurisdiction. Superior courts in Merced, Tulare and Placer Counties have asked jurors to report for duty in gyms, auditoriums or outdoor spaces for the check-in and selection process.

If you have questions about how your jurisdiction is handling jury duty, the best resource is the California State Courts website. If you need assistance with a legal matter, we urge you to contact our office at your earliest convenience.