Va. Supreme Court denies Roanoke courts’ plan to resume jury trials
15 Va. circuit courts have been approved since judicial emergency declared due to pandemic
The Virginia Supreme Court has rejected a plan by Roanoke Valley’s courts to resume jury trials during the pandemic.
Chief Judge David Carson of the 23rd Judicial Circuit of Virginia, which includes Roanoke, Roanoke County and Salem courts, said during an Oct. 13 Roanoke Bar Association Meeting that the Virginia Supreme Court rejected the proposal because it covered the three jurisdiction’s courts under one proposal instead of presenting separate plans for each courthouse, according to a report from Virginia Lawyers Weekly. Carson said the 23rd Judicial Circuit will redraft and resubmit plans Virginia Supreme Court.
So far, the Virginia Supreme Court has approved plans for 15 circuit courts to resume jury trials.
In March, the Virginia Supreme Court issued a Declaration of Judicial Emergency suspending jury trials anywhere in the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each district court in the commonwealth of Virginia is required to submit a plan to resume jury trials that must be approved by a panel of three justices and the state Office of the Executive Secretary. The Declaration of Judicial Emergency on Sept. 28 was extended through Nov. 1.
“All courts should continue to conduct as much business as possible by means other than in-person court proceedings,” Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia Donald W. Lemons wrote in the most recent extension letter. “In all civil and criminal matters, courts are encouraged to use video conferencing, telephone, teleconferencing, email or other means that do not involve in-person contact. These methods are preferred over in-person court proceedings.”