Chief Judge of the DC Superior Court Anita Josey-Herring announced earlier this week that juries will return to the court for in-person trials soon.
In-person proceedings at the DC Superior Court were suspended last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic has certainly changed the way the courts work. But jury service remains a fundamental pillar of our justice system,” Josey-Herring said in a YouTube video. “We’ve put many procedures in place to ensure your health and safety as you perform your civic duty. You are a crucial part of the justice system. Thank you again for your service as jurors in the District of Columbia Courts.”
As part of the newly introduced safety measures, the jurors’ lounge has been reconfigured for proper social distancing. Potential jurors will enter the courtroom one by one to be questioned by the judge and lawyers for the “voir dire” procedure.
There are also markers and signage placed around the courthouse to help guests keep a safe space between themselves and others.
Some jurors will sit in the jury box and others will sit in the gallery to hear the case. And for jury deliberations, an empty courtroom will be used.
Everyone is required to wear face masks in the courthouse. People will be accepted into the security screening area one at a time. Security personnel will check entrants’ answers to the health questionnaire they are required to fill out ahead of their visit, and take their temperature.
The court collaborated with health experts to implement safety and cleaning measures based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Hand sanitizers will be provided all around the building and frequently touched areas will be wiped down multiple times a day. Plexiglass barriers have been erected to divide the judge, lawyers, and others.
The court’s onsite daycare will be available as a licensed facility that follows COVID-19 protocols recommended by the CDC.
For further details on jury duty, click here.