Florida courtrooms won’t see jury trials until at least July.
In an order issued Monday, Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady extended the suspension of trials to at least July 2 as part of continuing efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Canady’s order further encouraged the use of remote technology to conduct non-essential court hearings throughout the state. These include non-jury trials, status and pretrial hearings, non-evidentiary and evidentiary motion hearings, juvenile delinquency matters, non-criminal traffic infraction cases and problem-solving court matters.
The order also suspends requirements for in-person preliminary hearings and a rule that defendants be automatically released from custody in first-degree murder cases if prosecutors are unable to file charges within 40 days.
The order embodies the first set of recommendations from a work group of judges and lawyers whom Canady assembled last month with the aim of developing a phased return to full court operations.
Most in-person court matters were put on hold statewide amid the arrival of the pandemic. Since then, judges have grappled with how to keep cases moving through video and telephonic hearings while also pondering ways to eventually return to having jury trials. The public health precautions are expected to create a backlog of cases.
• • •
Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage
HAVE YOU LOST SOMEONE YOU LOVE TO COVID-19?: Help us remember them
UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits
CONTRIBUTE TO THE SCRAPBOOK: Help us tell the story of life under coronavirus
BRIGHT SPOTS IN DARK TIMES: The world is hard right now, but there’s still good news out there
LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters
HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips
GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information, six days a week
We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.