Good afternoon Members,
In her weekly address, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said that grand jurors reported for service today in every judicial district outside of New York City.
DiFiore described it as “a significant milestone not only for our court system but for the entire criminal justice system.”
Also, this week as part of phase three in New York City, DiFiore said the court system was mailing summonses to prospective grand jurors across New York City in preparation for the commencement of grand jury proceedings in all five boroughs beginning Aug. 10.
“…We have been carefully planning for the safe return of grand juries,” said Difiore. “We have retrofitted dozens of courtrooms and installed plexiglass barriers in strategic locations to ensure safe personal distancing, and we will continue to work with the District Attorneys’ offices, the defense bar and our own epidemiologist to continuously assess, and minimize, any public health risks that could be presented.”
DiFiore also noted that this week New York County Supreme Court will be resuming a criminal jury trial that was suspended with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
“We view this not only as part of our ongoing responsibilities to the parties involved in that litigation, but as an excellent opportunity to help us responsibly prepare for the resumption of in-court proceedings, including new jury trials,” said DiFiore.
DiFiore also announced that the court system will be extending its COVID-19 screening protocols to all judges and nonjudicial personnel beginning Wednesday, July 15.
Judges and nonjudicial staff will undergo temperature screening upon their arrival at the workplace and conduct a daily COVID-19 self-assessment by answering a series of questions on their computer or on a hard copy form.
“Now, candidly, I understand that some may find these measures inconvenient, but they are necessary given the “new normal” that we are all living in, and it is critically important that we remain consistent and disciplined in following these practices in order to achieve our goal of restoring in-person justice services without contributing to a resurgence of COVID-19,” said DiFiore.
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