Courts across Canada including law firms like Donich Law are taking measures to control the spread of Covid-19. The Supreme Court of Canada has instructed that counsel will appear before the court exclusively through video conference for hearings that are scheduled in November and December. Justices will be present in the courtroom and the proceedings will be livestreamed.
Meanwhile, in Connecticut, courtrooms are preparing to reopen for jury trials. Lawyers across the state have voiced their concerns about the procedures and the positive aspects of resuming judicial business. One of the concerns is masks that will cover the juror’s faces. Any reactions and expressions during the court proceedings will be hidden behind the masks.
According to Linda Urso, a criminal defence lawyer from Stamford, jury selection is a form of art and a process based on gut. A lot of information can be determined from the facial expressions of jurors.
Another concern is the fear among jurors to serve because of possible exposure to the coronavirus. Jurors are worried that that the quarantine decisions they have made will be affected once they set foot inside the courtroom. However, Judge James Abrams of New Haven Supreme Court said that jurors will be distanced from one another inside the courtroom instead of being seated together in the jury box to hear testimonies.
If people refuse to serve during the pandemic, there will be a smaller and less diverse pool. The Covid-19 exception form allows prospective jurors to check one of several boxes that state that they are unable serve as juror because of a Covid-19-related reason and if such person is a caregiver that provides support to someone who requires extra precautions against contacting the coronavirus.
Defendants have a right to a fair jury trial, pandemic or not. Richard Robinson, the chief justice of the state of Connecticut said that civic-minded people must step forward and perform the public duty of serving as a juror in times of crisis.
You can always count on the services of Donich Law during these critical times. Even if the courts have suspended in-person court trials, there are virtual criminal management courts in more than 50 locations in Ontario.