In today’s episode, Chuck discusses the impact of recent court closures and what to expect if you get summoned for jury duty.
Hello folks. Here we are again. I think I spoke to you about this a couple of months ago; but beginning Monday, July 6th, the Superior Court is for the most part shut down again. No jury trials. No in-person changes of plea and there are some exceptions to all of this; but for the most part, it’s closed down. So, any of you awaiting to get through your criminal matter, your speedy trial rights have been suspended. And don’t be so eager to get in front of a jury because it’s not going to happen. The Court because of the Governor’s executive order a couple of weeks ago shutting down again gyms and certain types of business, the Superior Court presiding Judge has decided, and rightfully so, has decided to limit Court appearances.
This… I don’t want to call it a second phase but a couple of months ago when we were told to stay home, Arizona didn’t see a lot of things in terms of people testing positive for Covid. Well, now it is another story. I personally have friends that have tested positive, are sick. One to the extent that should be or is going to be in the hospital; but my point is, now it seems like everybody knows someone that’s gotten the virus. As a result of that the Court is being extra cautious and again rightfully so, to limit Court… to limit exposure within a Court room.
So, most of my Court appearances are being held telephonically. You appear telephonically and you wait… you wait for somebody to pick up the telephone and then you wait in line for the next guy… the guy before you to get finished. And then you go ahead and argue whatever you’re arguing or continue it out. I do have Jury trials that have been scheduled out into August. It’s my feeling, based upon in-custodies which have first priority. That means if a Defendant is stuck in jail, either one he couldn’t make his bail, or two he’s not bondable, that they will have priority.
My personal feeling is that it’s going to take a year to eighteen months to get caught up; and that’s assuming we slow down this spread and we start getting back to business. Also, too, for those that receive a summons for Jury duty sometime in the future, that’s completely changed. The number of strikes an Attorney has in terms of… you don’t really pick a jury. You get rid of the people that you don’t want. Now, we only have two strikes. We each, myself the Defense and the State can each strike two people. And then if you have cause to strike somebody you can do that too.
The jury room, if you will, where everybody meets to get sent to different Court house… Court rooms will be limited to thirty people, instead of well over a couple hundred. Transportation from the jury parking lot to the Superior Court is going to be limited, I believe, to eighty people… excuse me, less than eighty people on a bus. Way less than eighty people.
Again, social distancing. Chairs are going to be spread out six feet apart. When you deliberate if you end up getting stuck on a jury… I shouldn’t say that, if you’re on a jury and you deliberate. There’s no deliberations in a jury room, it’s going to be in another Court room so you can all stay far apart. The jury rooms are so small, the deliberation rooms, that there is no way a jury could deliberate on a case and be six feet apart. The court is being very, very cautious; and again, rightfully so.
There have been stories that Court personnel have caught the virus, tested positive and they don’t want to spread it among themselves let alone Prosecutors, Defense Lawyers, the inmates and it could get out of control. So again, don’t expect your case to go to trial anytime in the near future. It really is not going to. Word is, as well, Mesa City Court is actually closing down for the most part. Phoenix City Court is limiting appearances. The Justice Courts are being left up to their own discretion; but for the most part, they are acting in the same manner.
If you end up having to go to court for some strange reason, you don’t have a private Attorney that can go for you, you will have to have a mask on. You will have to answer questions. You’re going to get your temperature taken, and if your temperature is over a human being’s normal, you know 98.6 (lower, a little bit higher) you’re going to be denied entry. You’ve got to be honest with people when you’re questioned about whether you’ve got any symptoms or not. I’m sure there’s nobody out there that wants to get somebody else sick; and it’s just mushrooms.
So, you’re all going to have to be patient. And that’s something I don’t have because people are still getting in trouble. Still need Lawyers; but to have your day in court is going to take some time to get through this mess. I personally don’t see any end in sight right now until something major happens with us getting this virus contained or slowed down or whatever you want to call it.
So, if you have any questions you can always call me and I can look specifically as to the court because trying to get a hold of court personnel by telephone is very difficult. You can always go to their website and look. But again, if you have any questions, give me a call.