Even though COVID-19 is far from over, you can now be called for jury duty in the state of Florida. The US constitution preserves the right to trial by jury. It’s important to preserve an impartial verdict by a jury of your peers, rather than by a judge, the government, or a biased panel. But how do we do this in the midst of a pandemic?
The solutions are as varied as the judicial circuits in this state. Some are holding Zoom trials where jurors attend the trial remotely. Some jurisdictions are bringing jurors back to the courthouse. Remember when you are called for jury duty in your county, you are required to report. Guidelines such as temperature taking requiring masks and social distancing are being implemented.
Jury deliberations need larger spaces, and the number of jurors called to the courthouse is limited. In order to comply with best practices, there may be a number of options for resuming jury duty. But one option that is not available is ending the use of a jury trial. A jury trial is constitutionally guaranteed.
When most businesses consider reopening, they don’t need to worry about constitutional requirements. It is our duty as US citizens, the judge’s duty and the government’s duty to preserve the important right of trial by jury, even if it is by Zoom. Stay safe out there.