Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Three Row Jury Box: Harebrained Idea or a Necessity in a Post-Covid-19 World?


In response to a request for suggestions for ways the Bar and the Bench can navigate the Covid-19 situation, I noted the following.  I still can't tell if it is a harebrained idea or potentially the wave of the future.

One suggestion of mine, with respect to jury trials, was that a third row be added to the jury box, even if that third row is on the outside front of the jury box.  This would enable the 12 jurors and two alternates could spread out more and perhaps sit essentially every other seat.

The third row could at least be on the outside and in front of the box until the jury box wall could me moved outward by a construction contractor so that all 3 rows could be in the box.

Now that you see it, it doesn't look so out of the ordinary.

In the alternative, perhaps in at least civil cases, the requirement that a jury consist of 12 people and two alternates could be reduced to 6 people and 2 alternates.  In this way, the 6 jurors could spread out in the jury box to sit every other seat so has to engage in continued social distancing in the post-Covid-19 world.

Harebrained ideas or the wave of the future?

What do you think?

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