Superior Court Works to Postpone Jury Trials Due to COVID-19
Santa Barbara County Courthouse (Photo: Wikipedia)
Update by Santa Barbara County Superior Courts
Presiding Judge Michael Carrozzo met with representatives of the legal community this afternoon and urged the justice system leaders to work collaboratively to reduce the number of persons required to come to court.
Judge Carrozzo is encouraging all judges to work with attorneys and litigants to postpone current and upcoming jury trials. Judges will consider these circumstances on a case-by-case basis. We will be reducing the number of jurors coming to court as significantly as possible. All attorneys are asked to work together to settle as many matters as possible and reach stipulations to continue cases, where necessary. The Court will be encouraging the use of Penal Code Section 977 waivers in criminal cases permitting defendants to appear through their attorney of record.
The Court is working collaboratively with the justice partners to implement video appearances to reduce the number of in-custody defendants being transported between the jail and the courts. The use of telephonic appearances is encouraged for all parties. The court is establishing electronic filing for criminal justice partners to reduce the number of persons required to come to the clerk’s office.
The justice partners agreed to work with the presiding judges in the arraignment courtrooms throughout the county to explore further approaches to reducing the number of persons coming to the courthouses.
These efforts are in addition to measures already being taken to reduce exposure to pathogens. Hand sanitizing dispensers have been placed throughout the courthouses and jury assembly rooms. Janitorial staff have increased the frequency and intensity of cleaning - paying particular attention to door knobs, hand railings, and work surfaces.
Jurors who are ill are encouraged to contact the Jury Division through the online portal or by calling. Persons paying fines are directed to pay over the phone or via the web-based payment system. Addresses and phone numbers are available at the court’s website https://www.sbcourts.org/gi/covid19.shtm
By an edhat reader
The courts here in Santa Barbara, despite the public emergency due to the coronavirus, continue to force senior citizens to appear for jury duty. Microphones are not being disinfected and the rooms are not well ventilated. Meanwhile, the CDC advises those over age 60 or with underlying health conditions to avoid crowds and poorly ventilated rooms.
When will the County of Santa Barbara cancel jury duty, especially for those more susceptible?