Jury trials set to resume in Maryland this week

BALTIMORE (AP) — The first jury trials since March are set to resume this week in Maryland circuit courts.

While prosecutors and defense attorneys agree on the need for jury trials to resume, many who spoke with The Baltimore Sun for a story published Sunday were anxious about pandemic-related uncertainties ahead.

“We have to start at some point. I’m just hopeful that we can do this in a safe way,” Michael Schatzow, chief deputy for the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, told the newspaper. “There’s a sense in which we’re seeking out answers, to see how the practices that we’ve come up with will work.”

Some courtrooms have been rebuilt with Plexiglas shields and stocked with masks and thermometers, and some localities will be implementing new procedures for jury selection. For instance, Garrett County Circuit Court in western Maryland plans to pick juries at a high school gym, and Worcester County plans to use a fire hall.

Still, fears persist, and some attorneys wonder what will happen in a case if a juror falls sick during the trial.

“All it takes is one positive test or somebody to say they got COVID,” defense attorney Tony Garcia said. “You’re going to have a total disruption of the court system.”

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