Ingham Circuit and Probate Courts extend suspension of jury trials until Feb. 1

Judge Richard J. Garcia, Chief Judge of the 30th Circuit Court and the Ingham County Probate Court, issued an order on Nov. 20, extending the suspension of jury trials in the two courts until Feb. 1, 2021.  Judge Garcia had issued earlier orders in September and October suspending jury trials in the courts through the end of October and November, respectively.  The most recent order as well as the earlier orders cited the Michigan Supreme Court’s recent modification to its guidelines on conducting jury trials as well as relevant health data.

On September 25 the Supreme Court’s State Court Administrative Office revised its guidelines on allowing jury trials, requiring that before a court could consider conducting jury trials that it determine that either there is a seven-day average in the county of less than 70 COVID-19 cases per million per day and less than 10 percent positive diagnostic tests, or there have been fewer than 20 new cases per day in the county over the last seven days.  Once these minimal criteria are met, the Chief Judge must determine whether jury trials would create an excessive risk to public health.

Judge Garcia’s Nov. 20 order indicates the county continues to exceed the minimal standards for cases per million per day and total cases per day.  The order finds that since these minimal standards are not met consideration of jury trials in Ingham County is precluded at this time.

The 30th Circuit Court and Ingham County Probate Court are both located at the Veterans Memorial Courthouse at 313 W. Kalamazoo Street in Lansing.  The Mason Historical Courthouse, where the Circuit Court also has a presence, is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.


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