Two Western Washington counties suspend in-person jury trials

Two Western Washington counties suspend in-person jury trials
Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in court (BrianAJackson)

Both King and Snohomish counties are suspending all in-person jury trials due to the dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases.

Snohomish County made the announcement Wednesday in a statement that read, “Effective immediately, Snohomish County Superior Court will suspend jury trial activities through Jan. 8, 2021. This has been a very difficult decision to make, but it is the right decision based on the extraordinary circumstances that we currently face.”

King County followed suit Friday, suspending in-person jury trials through Jan. 11.

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King County Superior Court Presiding Judge Jim Rogers wrote, “With guidance from public health experts from the University of Washington, we will continuously monitor rates of COVID-19 and adapt our Public Health Plan accordingly. The Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial.”

The court will hold civil jury trials virtually, as well as hearings that do not involve a jury.

It’s not the first time King County suspended in-person jury trials.

At the start of the pandemic, the county made the same move in March to help slow the spread of COVID-19.