Supreme Court suspends jury trials until late May

Florida’s Chief Justice Charles Canady issued a new emergency order Monday suspending jury trials in the state.

The order postpones all grand jury proceedings, jury selection proceedings, and criminal and civil jury trials, officials said. The trials were pushed back to May 29 because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Under the new order, all court procedures are allowed to be conducted by remote electronic means, officials said. Notaries and other people qualified to administer an oath may swear a witness remotely by audio-video.

The new order says all county and circuit courts shall continue to perform essential court proceedings, including first appearance, criminal arraignments and motion hearings. All non-essential and non-critical court activities were suspended.

The circuit and county courts are required to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus while conducting proceedings.

Officials said each chief judge shall continue to review cases and court events. The chief judges will also use communication technology resources available to the circuit, each county and each judge.

All speedy trial procedures were suspended through June 1, officials said. On April 2, Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended other court-related matters including foreclosures and evictions.


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