Jury trials suspended in New Jersey due to coronavirus spike

FILE - Generic gavel on wodden table.

Jury trials in New Jersey have been suspended as COVID-19 cases in the state make a resurgence.

A state Supreme Court order released Monday suspended in-person jury trials until further notice, with the exception of one trial that is in progress. In-person grand juries are suspended but can meet virtually.

Reported cases in New Jersey have risen recently to levels not seen in months.

New York halts jury selection as outbreak worsens

Since March, judges have conducted more than 100,000 remote court events involving more than a million participants, according to the state judiciary.

In-person jury trials were suspended for six months in New Jersey, one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic. To resume jury trials on a limited basis — and reduce a backlog of thousands of cases — the state Supreme Court released a plan in August that provided for jury selection to be conducted mostly online, with some individual questioning of jurors done in person.

The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey criticized the plan at the time, saying a lack of access to technology would unconstitutionally exclude minority, poor and elderly jurors.

About a dozen jury trials have been conducted since September.

The resumption of trials has led to resolutions and settlements in more than 300 cases, according to the state judiciary.

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