Allen Superior Court pauses jury trials due to COVID-19

The Allen Superior Court will halt jury trials until at least Feb. 14 due to the latest surge in COVID-19 infections and illnesses in the community, the court announced Wednesday.

A “dramatic increase” in positive test results and illness among litigants, jurors, prosecutors and other staff have made it difficult to complete proceedings, the court said in its announcement.

The temporary pause of jury trials – unanimously approved by the court’s board of judges – will begin on Jan. 24, allowing proceedings currently underway to be completed.

Bench trials, sentencings and guilty pleas will continue to take place as scheduled.

Individuals who have received jury summonses to appear between Jan. 25 and Feb. 10 may disregard those notices. The pause is expected to affect five to 10 jury trials.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the Courts moving forward,” Judge Frances C. Gull of the Allen Superior Court’s Criminal Division said in a statement. “In fact, the Allen County Courts have not closed for a single day due to COVID-19. But the best thing for all involved during the current surge in cases is to pause trials until conditions improve.”

Current COVID-19 case numbers in Allen County far exceed the levels experienced when jury trials were previously halted in April and December of 2020, the court said.

“Hopefully, this current surge has peaked and trials can resume in three weeks,” Judge Gull added. “But for the time being, health and safety need to be our number one priority.”

Other courts have similarly halted jury trials due to rising numbers of positive cases, including courts in Madison County, Lake County and Marion County.

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