READ: Federal judge suspends civil, criminal jury trials canceled until after May 29

Read the order that U.S. Chief District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer handed down Monday to suspend civil and criminal jury trials until after May 29.

SHARE READ: Federal judge suspends civil, criminal jury trials canceled until after May 29
Dirksen Federal Courthouse

Sun-Times file photo

U.S. Chief District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer on Monday acknowledged the difficulty of calling people in for jury duty amid the coronavirus outbreak as she canceled all civil and criminal jury trials set to begin on or before May 29.

“Social-distancing guidelines render juror participation difficult or unsafe, and the current public health emergency renders it infeasible for the clerk’s office to accomplish the mailing of juror summons,” Pallmeyer wrote.

Pallmeyer’s 10-page order allows several types of hearings — including detention hearings and arraignments — to occur by phone or video as long as the defendant agrees to it. The order also delays all plea hearings and sentencing hearings set to begin on or before May 1, unless an emergency judge is told it is necessary to go forward. Certain circumstances would also allow those hearings to occur by video or phone.

The chief judge also wrote that, “grand juries shall continue to meet, with reasonable limits on grand jury sessions imposed by the court in consultation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Read Pallmeyer’s full 10-page order below.

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