Courts Extend Start Date for Jury Trials to Jan. 11, 2021

In response to the current situation in the Commonwealth with respect to COVID-19 and the expectation of rising infections during the holiday period, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) and the Trial Court announce further postponement of the resumption of jury trials. It is anticipated that Phase 1 of the plan previously approved in the SJC order of Sept. 17, and scheduled to begin the week of Nov. 30, now will commence the week of January 11, 2021.   

Phase 1 calls for initially conducting a limited number of jury trials, with six-person juries, in a designated number of courthouses, and is expected to last for two months. The Trial Court will complete its preparations for Phase 1 over the coming weeks so that the required comprehensive protocols that address the health and safety of jurors and other trial participants will be in place in all courthouses that are identified for Phase 1 jury trials. The Trial Court also is identifying and securing jury trial locations in those counties that do not have courthouses suitable for conducting jury trials during the pandemic.     

Court leaders continue to seek to balance the critical right to trial by jury with health and safety concerns of trial participants. The Office of Jury Commissioner will cancel jurors summoned for dates before the new resumption date and trials currently scheduled will be rescheduled. Courts will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation in the Commonwealth.

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