A Capehart Scatchard Blog

New Jersey Jury Trials to Resume on Limited Basis

By on August 7, 2020 in Other with 0 Comments

Beginning in mid-September, New Jersey will resume jury trials on a limited basis. Three counties have been chosen to start the resumption of trials – Atlantic/Cape May, Bergen, and Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem vicinages. The plan is to start with criminal trials and then expand to other counties and both criminal and civil trials.

The plan is to use technology to conduct jury selection on a virtual basis. Jurors will be pre-screened to eliminate jurors for not only the standard pre-reporting excuses but also for COVID-19 related factors, including rescheduling to a later date any prospective juror who is 65+ or has specific co-morbidities that, according to the CDC, should make them avoid in-person gatherings. (Interestingly, this age pre-screen factor may eliminate a large number of jurors who are retired who would typically be available for jury duty.)

Based upon this plan, only a limited number of jurors will actually come to the courthouse for final jury selection.

The court’s plan contemplates social distancing of jurors, witnesses, attorneys and judges.

The plan is to start with simple, shorter trials. The judiciary recognizes that multi-defendant trials will be especially difficult due to space limitations.

The premise is that the counties will be able to support at least one criminal trial and one civil trial at one time. However, some high volume counties, such as Camden and Essex, should be able to support 3-4 trials at one time.

It seems that many details of the plan will need to be worked out as trials resume.

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Betsy G. Ramos

About the Author

About the Author:

Ms. Ramos is an Executive Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Litigation Department at Capehart Scatchard, P.A. located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. She is an experienced litigator with over 25 years experience handling diverse matters. Practice areas include tort defense, business litigation, estate litigation, tort claims and civil rights defense, construction litigation, insurance coverage, employment litigation, shareholder disputes, and general litigation.

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