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UPDATE:

Madison County officials originally hoped to resume jury trials on Jan. 17, but with the county still in the red category on the state’s COVID-19 transmission map — which denotes high coronavirus spread — officials have decided to push jury trials back until the county is lowered to the orange category.

Court administrator Jim Hunter said his understanding is “once your cases go down to a level where you would be considered ‘orange’ again, you need two weeks of declining case numbers before they officially designate you as ‘orange.’”

ORIGINAL STORY:

INDIANAPOLIS – Facing a growing number of COVID-19 cases, Marion, Madison and Bartholomew counties will delay all jury trials.

November 2020 guidance from the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the authority of trial courts to suspend and/or reschedule criminal or civil jury trials for a limited period.

Each county has elected to utilize that authority, with Marion County saying all jury trials “will be continued and reset after Jan. 21, 2022.” Madison County will push back its jury trials until Jan. 17. Batholomew County is suspending jury trials until Jan. 21, at which time the situation will be re-evaluated.

The latest COVID-19 transmission map put all three counties in the red category denoting high coronavirus spread.

Marion County said the courthouse will limit capacity in all areas and strictly enforce a face coverings policy.

“We will continue to monitor the status of the local health conditions and update our operations based upon those conditions in the future,” according to a statement.

In the Marion County order calling for the suspension of jury trials, the court noted that “nearly 40 vaccinated and unvaccinated court staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus” within the last few days.

According to the Madison County order, the court “finds that the nature of the emergency is such that an immediate cessation of jury trials is necessary in Madison County.”

The Bartholomew County order cites concern over COVID-19 hospitalization and local medical resources being overwhelmed.