Jury trials to resume in the Four Corners with COVID-safe practices | KOB 4

Jury trials to resume in the Four Corners with COVID-safe practices

Diana Castillo
Updated: July 27, 2020 06:46 PM
Created: July 27, 2020 05:50 PM

 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Jury trials in Aztec and Farmington will be resuming at the end of July.

Social distancing, smaller groups of jurors and wearing masks are just some of the new protocols. 


However, District Public Defender Matthew Cockman said there are some concerns with some of these restrictions.

"For example, going to trial, one of the things that jurors are asked to do is to judge the credibility of witnesses. And research and our own human experiences tells us that facial expressions are a huge part of that; it's not just what they say but how they say it and how it's delivered," Cockman said.

Cockman said reading facial expressions will be difficult with a mask on. Defendants and attorneys will also be required to only communicate through reading and writing. 

"It feels like sometimes where we are clients are gonna have to choose between two interest, their interest in having their day in court and their interest in staying healthy," Cockman said. "What we are trying to advocate for is both."

Cockman understands that the world is in uncertain times, but he hopes that the trials will be as fair as possible.

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