Connecticut Jury Trials Still on Hold as COVID-19 Cases Surge
The coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the court system in Connecticut, with jury trials now being postponed indefinitely due to rising COVID-19 case numbers in the state.
Although Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Robinson recommended in September 2020 that residents begin appearing for jury duty by November 2, the courts have been forced to delay jury trials until at least March 2021.
The plan to reopen is on an indefinite hold and the Supreme Court will reassess the situation on a weekly basis. A judiciary spokesperson stated that the priority is safety and that the courts could not risk resuming jury trials with the virus surging.
According to state health officials, Connecticut saw a steady climb in the number of coronavirus cases in autumn 2020, including a 6.1 percent single-day positivity rate — determined by dividing new cases by test specimens using information from The COVID Tracking Project. The 14-day positivity rate was around 3 percent. By contrast, the positivity rate was less than 1 percent throughout the summer months. Overall, more than 71,000 people in Connecticut have tested positive for COVID-19.
Another area of concern is the increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths in Connecticut. As of early December, the state had 329 hospitalized coronavirus patients, the highest number since the beginning of June. Deaths also surged, with the total reaching 4,616 in early December.
Despite the pause in jury trials in personal injury cases and other litigation, the courts are continuing to take steps to prepare for a safe reopening. These steps include the installation of protective barriers in courthouses, along with the purchase of personal protective equipment such as masks.
Courts aren’t the only institutions continuing under restrictions as coronavirus numbers continue to go up. In early December, Governor Lamont announced that the state is reimposing restrictions on certain businesses and on gatherings above a certain number of people. Restaurants are limited to 50 percent capacity, down from the 75 percent capacity they had been permitted. Restaurants must close by 9:30 p.m. but are permitted to serve takeout and delivery orders after that time. Bars remain closed.
At Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari, L.L.C., we are keeping abreast of all developments in the court system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, we are open for business. We represent clients in a wide range of legal matters, including litigation. Call us at 203.407.4200 or contact us online. We also offer consultations and appointments by telephone, Skype, FaceTime or Zoom.