Jury trials at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court will resume on Monday, April 26, 2021.
Trials had resumed last September after they were postponed in March due to the pandemic, but the Judges voted to suspended trials once again when COVID-19 cases began to spike in the fall. Judges have continued to conduct bench trials in which a jury is not required. Hearings have also been held, both remotely and in-person by all 34 Judges.
The Court continues to work with medical experts and architects to make trials as safe as possible. All of our courtrooms have been equipped with Plexiglas partitions between jurors, attorneys and their clients, and Court personnel. The courtrooms are sanitized each evening after they are used.
Recent upgrades to the air conditioning units in the Justice Center have increased fresh airflow into the building, and the air is also sanitized by using ultraviolet light. Escalator rails are also continuously sanitized by UV light.
Citizens who receive a jury summons will call the Court the night before they are scheduled to appear to determine if they will be needed (216-698-2977). Jurors will assemble at the Global Center for Health Innovation directly across the street from the Justice Center, where there is more room for social distancing. After going through an electronic temperature scan and security, jurors will sign in and be seated in designated chairs. If they do not arrive with a mask, one will be provided.
Those randomly chosen for jury selection will be escorted to the Justice Center, and taken to the appropriate floor by Court staff in dedicated elevators. Masks will be required at all times.
Once in the courtroom, jurors will be provided with clear face shields so that the attorneys can interact with them. The Judge and witness will also have clear shields that allow their faces to be seen. The number of people allowed to view the trial in the gallery will be reduced.
On any one day, no more than five trials can begin. Backup cases will be ready in the event that a trial settles before jurors are called to the courtroom.