Iowa jury trials postponed until Sept. 14 due to COVID-19

first_imgDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – One-third of Iowa’s state government isn’t ready to fully reopen any time soon as the coronavirus continues to infect and kill people across the state.The Iowa Judicial Branch announced Friday afternoon that it would cancel jury trials in criminal cases until Sept. 14, and push back any in-person proceedings until July 13.Some hearings can begin earlier if courthouses meet recommended safety protocols, but the use of teleconferences and video conferences will continue to be encouraged.Health officials have warned that crowded courtrooms could be venues to spread the virus to clerks, jurors, lawyers, witnesses, spectators and defendants.Jury trials had previously been cancelled until July 13, while in-person hearings had been expected to resume June 1.The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision to extend their cancellation comes as Gov. Kim Reynolds pushes to reopen many other parts of society.Defendants have a constitutional right to a speedy trial if they demand one. When the courts reopen, criminal trials are expected to be scheduled ahead of civil trials as the system works through a backlog.last_img

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