STATEN ISLAND, NY – Borough residents may soon find a juror notice in their mailbox.
A spokesperson for the state’s Office of Court Administration (OCA) said on Wednesday officials plan to send the notices to Staten Island and across the city next week, ahead of the start of jury trials. later next month.
The expected resumption of jury trials on March 22 comes amid a drop in coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the state.
“We are discussing the restart with the parties concerned and are confident about the recovery,” said Lucian Chalfen, spokesperson for the OCA. “If the trajectory of the infection rate changes from its continuing downward trend, we will adjust accordingly, as we did in the fall. “
Criminal and civil jury trials suspended in mid-November after a peak in coronavirus cases around New York City.
Jury trials were initially closed last March at the start of the pandemic.
they restarted seven months later in October, but were quickly canceled within weeks when coronavirus cases surged.
New grand jury members were also suspended in November, but only for seven weeks.
A new grand jury sat on Staten Island on January 4.
The role of the grand jury is to decide whether to lay criminal charges or an indictment against those accused of crimes.
Jury trials will also resume in the state on March 22.
Chalfen said the trials will go slowly at first.
Incarcerated defendants will have priority for criminal trials, he said.
Since mid-March, courts have largely operated remotely because of the coronavirus.
In-person functions had slowly intensified from the summer, before being reduced in November.
At present, in-person appearances are limited and in-person staffing has been severely reduced in all state courts.