MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Circuit court in Mobile County will resume jury trials beginning September 14th. The presiding judge of the 13th Judicial Circuit, Michael Youngpeter says several procedures have been put in place to allow jury trials to be conducted.
Jury trials have been on hold since this past March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of those procedures involve the use of plastic shields and moving the jury from the traditional jury box and into the gallery where they can be spaced further from each other.
A summons was mailed to each potential member of a jury pool on Tuesday.
Judge Youngpeter also said the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts has developed an online juror summons process in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Mobile County will be using that system to resume jury trials in September.
It will give potential juries a way to tell the court why they are not fit for jury duty because of illness or a family situation.
People who receive a summons for jury duty will be instructed to log onto a dedicated juror website to complete a short questionnaire, using a secure PIN assigned to each potential juror. The website may be accessed by a computer or on a smartphone.
Those without computer access who receive a summons can call the court to complete the registration process.
Here is the press release from Judge Youngpeter:
Jury Trials in Mobile County Courts
On September 14, 2020, jury trials will resume in Mobile County. To keep jurors, other court participants and the public safe from COVID-19, new procedures have been put in place to allow the courts to conduct such trials. Summons will be mailed August 11, 2020 and should arrive at the homes of potential jurors later in the week.
Recently, Alabama’s Administrative Office of Courts has developed an online juror summons process in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Mobile County will be using that system to resume jury trials in September. Individuals receiving a summons for jury duty will be instructed to log onto a dedicated juror website to complete a short questionnaire, using a secure PIN assigned to each potential juror. The website may be accessed by computer or on a smart phone. By completing the form, potential jurors will now qualify for jury service — or request to be excused from jury service — online rather than in person. This will allow jurors who are at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 due to age or an underlying medical condition to use the online form to request their jury service be deferred until a later date. All requests to be excused from jury service should be made as soon as possible.
The new juror summons also directs potential jurors to https://mobile.alacourt.gov, the official court website for Mobile County Circuit and District Courts, where additional information will be provided regarding safety protocols that have been implemented to make jury service safer during the current pandemic. Those new procedures include sanitizing surfaces, temperature checking for fever, social distancing measures, contactless sanitizing stations, limitations on the number of people permitted in an elevator, jury assembly at the Mobile Civic Center instead of the courthouse, and newly configured courtrooms that will permit jurors to be seated at least six feet from other jurors during the course of the trials and deliberations.
Individuals who receive a juror summons and do not have internet or smart phone access to enable them to complete online registration, may contact Court Administration for Mobile County Courts at the telephone number provided on the summons.
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