As the coronavirus pandemic environment continues to evolve, Berrien County Trial Court Chief Judge Mabel Johnson Mayfield has announced that jury trials will resume in August and September.
Mayfield says that jury trials for misdemeanor criminal offenses will begin the week of August 17th, 2020 and jury trials for felony criminal offenses will get underway the week of September 22nd, 2020.
Working in accordance with the Michigan Supreme Court’s administrative orders dictating that the Berrien County Trial Court remain open to address essential operations, Mayfield reports that the State Court Administrative Office has convened a statewide work group regarding the virtual technology capabilities of the trial courts as they pertain to jury trials specifically. That work group’s report of recommendations and best practices is not due for completion until June 30th.
Mayfield says, “In order to effectively handle trials by jury in a manner that is consistent with the State Court Administrative Office and Michigan Supreme Court’s review of jury capacity as affected by COVID-19, the following will be in effect until further order of the court:
- Jury trials for misdemeanor criminal offenses will begin the week of August 17, 2020.
- Jury trials for felony criminal offenses will begin the week of Setember 22, 2020.
The presiding judge of the criminal division will limit the number of jury trials per day to accommodate all social distancing requirements in effect at that time. All dates are subject to further review by the Chief Judge.