ORLANDO, Fla. - In-person court hearings and jury trials have been put on hold again in some Florida counties because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Court business has been anything but normal since the pandemic started. Jury trials were suspended statewide in March. While most other hearings transitioned to a virtual courtroom, those dockets never stopped.
By the end of October, many counties were welcoming back jurors with strict precautions requiring temperature screening, social distancing, and face coverings.
However, with COVID-19 cases surging, some trials are going back on hold.
"People have a right to a speedy trial. If you're in jail, you get to trial quickly, but that has been waived because of the nature of this pandemic," Patrick Leduc, a Criminal Defense Attorney, explained to FOX 35. "You can do everything virtually is the way I see it. There isn't anything that can be done virtually with the exception of a trial by jury."
The legal system cannot function without them. Hundreds of cases are already backlogged from the last suspension, keeping plaintiffs waiting for justice and defendants sitting behind bars for their delayed day in court.
Leduc added "I had a criminal defendant who was set for trial on April 2nd. So, he had been in jail eight months. We worked the case. We're gonna pick a jury and then March came -- everything is shut down. That poor guy is still in jail."
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