OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Starting Monday, the Alameda County Supreme Court will resume certain criminal and civil jury trials suspended as of March 17, when the COVID-19 coronavirus closure went into effect, court officials said.
Then, starting June 29, the Superior Court will begin sending out summons papers to prospective jurors for new trials.READ MORE: California Tax Revenues Soar as Rich Get Richer Despite Pandemic
However, given the status of the COVID-19 crisis in Alameda County and the accompanying shelter-in-place orders still in effect, and the need to maintain social distancing and control crowd sizes, the only a limited number of jury trials will be conducted at any given time, the court said.READ MORE: Trailers, RVs, Shed Burned at Industrial Yard in Oakland
Because of the anticipated limited number of jury trials, the court requested authority from the Chief Justice to further extend by 30 days the “speedy trial” deadline for criminal cases that would otherwise need to be brought to trial on or before July 15. The Chief Justice granted the court’s request in a May 29 emergency order.
The Alameda County Superior Court is also implementing numerous additional safety measures, including requiring all persons entering a
courthouse to wear a mask or face covering and undergo a health screening, which may include a temperature check; enforcing social distancing standards, including limiting elevator, restroom, courtroom and assembly area capacities; staggering juror reporting times to limit attendance numbers; and reconfiguring jury assembly rooms and courtrooms to limit capacity and ensure social distancing.
The court also is modifying its jury selection process to reduce the number of jurors called to each courthouse and to shorten the time jurors spend assembled together for preliminary examination of witnesses or jurors by a judge or attorney.