Jury trials in Missouri to allow for safe distancing and other COVID-19 health concerns

Gavel and old law books (court or trial)

The Missouri Supreme Court is changing trial court proceedings to include safe distancing and more allowances for COVID-19 health concerns.

The order issued this week says  “The resumption of jury proceedings too early would not only risk the health of the participants, but it could also undermine public confidence in the courts and damage the integrity of trial by jury, a cornerstone of our justice system. … [E]very reasonable precaution should be taken in the context of jury proceedings.”

Recommendations for the state’s 115 trial courts include allowing jury service to be deferred for those at risk or caregivers, ensuring space and facilities for distancing, limiting numbers of people during jury selection, using more digital technology for exhibiting evidence, and suspending the use of warrants for jurors failing to appear.

The state’s court systems are resuming activities in phases and local court information is available by clicking HERE.