BOSTON — The starting date for jury trials in Massachusetts courts has been pushed back until early next month.
On Friday, Paula M. Carey, the state's Trial Court chief justice, announced that the earliest that jury trials in state court can start has been extended to Nov. 9. In September, the Supreme Judicial Court — it's the state's highest court — had authorized Phase 1 in the resumption of jury trials to begin no earlier than Oct. 23.
Courts have been working toward gradually resuming jury trials. A limited number of six-person-jury trials are called for initially, in designated courtrooms, per a report issued by the Jury Management Advisory Committee.
Jurors who were summoned for the weeks of Oct. 26 and Nov. 2. won't have to report, according to the Office of Jury Commissioner.
“We continue to review building systems to minimize any risk to jurors, court users and court staff,” Carey said. “We are following CDC guidance in terms of occupancy levels and want to take a few more weeks to prepare. This is a complicated process, given the coordination required.”
Trials that were scheduled before Nov. 9 will be rescheduled.
The cases to be tried by juries in Phase 1, and their locations, will be determined by the chief justice of the applicable Trial Court department, in consultation with Carey.
The Supreme Judicial Court will issue direction regarding Phase 2 of the resumption of jury trials after reviewing the committee's evaluation of Phase 1. Phase 2 is expected to begin in February, pending significant changes in the COVID-19 landscape.