Vaccines for Judges Start Today; Trials Resume Monday

By Christian Nolan

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Judges and justices are eligible beginning today to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as part of the allowed “public facing essential government officials and employees,” according to the New York State Unified Court System.

“While many judges have already been vaccinated, making the vaccine available to all of our judges will certainly expedite our ability to safely expand in-person operations and eventually achieve our goal of resuming a full range of in-person court operations, including jury trials,” said DiFiore. “And, of course, this will allow us to get back to some form of normalcy in our own personal lives as well, which is so important to our mental health and well-being.”

Back in January, DiFiore urged state officials to immediately expand the vaccination guidelines to include judges.

Trials Resume Monday

DiFiore said that because the COVID-19 metrics have improved since the increase around the holidays, and the vaccination campaign is expanding to reach more and more people in New York State, the state court system is continuing with its plans to incrementally expand in-person operations and restart a limited number of civil and criminal jury trials on Monday, March 22.

The state court system will continue to prioritize and enforce social distancing, the use of personal protective equipment, a strict cleaning regimen, and an environment where jurors, lawyers, litigants, witnesses, judges, staff and all other participants feel comfortable and confident about their safety at the courthouses, DiFiore explained.

“Now, to be clear, our commitment to expanding in-person services and restarting jury trials does not mean that we have any intention of returning to the kind of courthouse density that existed before the arrival of COVID-19,” said DiFiore. “First of all, we will be moving forward gradually, and second, we will be moving into a new and presumably better normal, defined by our increased reliance on technology options, such as videoconferencing and e-filing, that will enable us to limit courthouse traffic while providing efficient access to our services.”

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