The state Supreme Court has extended the suspension of jury trials until July 2, according to a new emergency order.
The emergency order, issued Monday by Florida’s Chief Justice Charles Canady, increases the list of proceedings state courts will conduct by remote technology during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jury trials, according to the order, "pose a special hazard because they can expose jurors and other courtroom participants to a risk of infection."
The order also pushes back some legal deadlines until after the July 4 holiday weekend.
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For first-degree murder cases, the order suspends until July 2 some requirements for in-person preliminary hearings and a requirement that defendants be automatically released from custody if prosecutors are unable to file charges within 40 days.
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More court proceedings also will be conducted using remote technology, a process that began under an earlier April 6 order.
The list of proceedings to be handled remotely include:
– Non-jury trials, except that all parties must agree to remote non-jury proceedings in criminal, juvenile delinquency and termination of parental rights cases
– Alternate dispute resolution cases
– Status, case management, and pretrial conferences in all case types
– Non-evidentiary and evidentiary motion hearings in all case types
– Arraignments and pleas in absentia in county court misdemeanor cases
– Hearings in juvenile delinquency cases
– Hearings in noncriminal traffic infraction cases
– Problem-solving court staffings, hearings and wellness checks
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Florida’s courts have followed emergency guidelines since a March 13 order, when Canady suspended jury trials and took other actions restricting in-person proceedings to enforce social distancing.
Future extensions will be considered if needed, according to the order.
Melissa E. Holsman is the legal affairs reporter for TCpalm and Treasure Coast Newspapers, and is writer and co-host of Uncertain Terms, a true crime podcast. For in-depth, exclusive and breaking legal affairs coverage be sure to subscribe.
This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Coronavirus: Florida Supreme Court delays jury trials until July 2 to reduce risk of infection