Virus outbreak sidelines Florida jury trials till July

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) – The coronavirus outbreak pushed Florida's jury trials out until at least early July and postponed several other court terms.

Florida Chief Judge Charles Canady also said in an order on Monday that more types of hearings and other judicial matters will be conducted remotely. This includes non-jury trials, if all parties agree, some charges, status hearings and pre-trial motions and conferences.

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The Supreme Court issued a statement saying the virus outbreak made jury trials unsafe at the time. No jury trial will be held until at least July 2nd.

“Face-to-face trials pose a special risk because they can expose jurors and other court participants to a risk of infection. Future extensions will be considered, if necessary, ”said the statement.

For first-degree murder cases, the new order suspends some requirements for preliminary face-to-face hearings until July 2 and a requirement that defendants be automatically released from custody if prosecutors cannot file complaints within 40 days.

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Canady said a working group formed to address these problems will still make suggestions for remote procedures that can continue even after the pandemic is over.

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