Jurors adjust to changes during pandemic | KOB 4

Jurors adjust to changes during pandemic

Joy Wang
Updated: July 31, 2020 09:35 PM
Created: July 31, 2020 04:12 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Bernalillo County Metro Court is working to keep jurors safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before jurors show up, a jury manager is expected to ask about any medical conditions or concerns.

"They will seek excusal of those jurors. So that is one thing but so far, we've had five jury trials since we've resumed jury trials here in Metro. We've had almost 100% appearance by the jurors. So I really want to thank the members of the public," said Chief Judge Maria Dominguez.

When a juror shows up for jury duty, everyone is screened which includes a temperature check.

"Almost all of our hearings are being held remotely. We have more than 50% of our workers teleworking. And in addition to that, we have very, very strict protocols as far as cleaning wearing masks, social distancing, everybody must wear a mask at all times unless they're in a room by themselves. Period," Judge Dominguez said.

Jurors are provided a mask and hand sanitizer.

"We're holding our jury selection in much larger venues so that social distance distancing can take place and be accomplished," Judge Dominguez said.

The court has also summoned more  people, and have an extra alternate to make sure trials can proceed.

"We have a very strict jury schedule. We're only allowing two jury trials per day on any given day, which we have 16 criminal judges, so we have a complete calendar of that also to limit that," Judge Dominguez said.

Jury deliberations happen in an open courtroom.

Metro Court is also cleaning areas daily, following CDC guidelines.

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