Berrien Trial Court Returns to Phase One, Cancels All Jury Trials in 2020

As things continue to worsen across the region, the Berrien County Trial Court is turning all the way back to Phase One of the pandemic guidelines and is now suspending all jury trials for the balance of the year.

The court says this afternoon, due to the continued increase in COVID-19 positive cases within Berrien County, the Berrien County Trial Court is making two announcements regarding operational changes:

Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, November 18, 2020, the Trial Court will be returning to Phase One of the Michigan Supreme Court’s Return to Full Capacity Guide. The court will be conducting hearings remotely via Zoom in as many instances as possible. Notices will be provided to those with pending court cases which include Zoom contact information to utilize to engage in their court hearings.

A very limited number of hearings will be allowed to occur in-person, and those individuals will be notified of their ability to attend in-person. Attorneys will also be encouraged to participate in court proceedings remotely. If you have a question regarding the status of your case or hearing, please use the Department Contact Information listing at the Trial Court website to call or e-mail the court for a status update.

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No walk-in foot traffic will be allowed at this time and all individuals must file new paperwork with the court either by mail, drop box, or e-mail. Any in-person contact with departments at the courthouse facilities will be by appointment only.

Additionally, in order to maintain the health and safety of the public and staff, the Trial Court will be suspending jury trials through the remainder of 2020.  Jurors who have been summoned to report for jury service for the remainder of 2020 are excused and will not be required to call in for duty. The ability of the court to safely resume jury trials will be re-evaluated in January of 2021.

For additional information regarding court operations, please visit the Trial Court website at www.berriencounty.org/1058/Trial-Court.