ST. LOUIS – Jury trials resume in St. Louis County today after the pandemic put a pause on getting those accused of serious crimes in front of a judge.
St. Louis County is taking several measures to ensure the safety and health of all involved with a jury trial. Employees, judges, outside attorneys, litigants or jurors who enter the courthouse will have to have their temperature taken, wear a mask and keep social distancing. They will use three courtrooms for each trial and separate spectators, families, and witnesses by using a video feed. They’ve added a plastic shield to separate the judge, attorneys, bailiff stations, and the court reporter. Each courtroom will be sanitized daily, and witness tables and microphones will be wiped down between each speaker.
The US Constitution and Missouri law both guarantee the accused a speedy trial. Because time limits for a speedy trial were exceeded during the pandemic, About 100 cases are scheduled to go to trial in the coming months.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated that jury trials started in St. Louis City later this month. They started in March.