Southern District jury trial suspensions extended till April

The Indiana Southern District Court has suspended jury trials for an additional month, further delaying in-person trials through April 5 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Indiana Southern District Court Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson issued the order further suspending jury trials on Thursday. Previously, jury trials in the district had been suspended through March 1.

Pointing to significant health risks related to the coronavirus and “signs of increased coronavirus spread and evidence of resurgence” in Indiana, Magnus-Stinson wrote, “In the immediate future, it will not be reasonably possible to summon a pool of potential jurors and conduct a jury trial in a manner that does not expose potential jurors, counsel, court staff, and litigants to substantial and unacceptable health risks, specifically, the danger of becoming infected with COVID-19 … .”

She continued, “For an extended time, it is likely that a significant number of potential jurors may request that their service on a jury be deferred or excused for reasons related to COVID-19 … .”

Any delay in a criminal trial in conjunction with the general order will be excluded from the Speedy Trial Act upon a finding that “the facts and circumstances of the case and measures outlined in this and other General Orders of the Court support a continuance as serving the ends of justice and protection of the public,” and “upon particularized findings in the case that a continuance services the ends of justice, and such action outweighs the best interest of the public and the defendant to a speedy trial.”

Jury trials conduct by video teleconference can proceed upon order of the judge. All proceedings other than in-person jury trials can proceed via phone, teleconference or in-person as ordered.

The clerk’s offices in the Indiana Southern District and Bankruptcy courts remain closed to the public, and screening requirements remain in place at Southern District courthouses.

Information about other COVID-19 regulations in the Indiana Southern District is available online.

In the Indiana Northern District Court, the authorization of videoconferencing or teleconferencing has been extended through March 17.  COVID-19 regulations for the Northern District are available here.

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