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Jury trials temporarily halted in Pinellas; Hillsborough courts to suspend in-person proceedings beginning Monday

Regular News

CoronavirusDue to increases in the COVID-19 positivity, jury trials in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties have been suspended.

Sixth Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino suspended jury trials in Pinellas County January 5 because of the recent spike in both the number of new Covid-19 cases and the percentage of positives.

Chief Judge Rondolino last month temporarily suspended jury trials in Pasco County because of the COVID-19 related increases there. This means no juries will be impaneled at any of the courthouses in the two counties, and no witnesses expected to testify will be required to go to those facilities.

Chief Judge Rondolino’s decision vis a vis Pinellas County came after the latest statistics showed, among other things, the positivity rate jumping to 11.4%. Once the positivity rate of those tested breaks 10%, a chief judge is required to consider changing his court operational plan, which Chief Judge Rondolino has done.

The Sixth Circuit suspensions are expected to remain in effect until the numbers improve and the risks reduced. Trials may be scheduled by judges, with the understanding circumstances may not permit the proceeding to go forward once the date arrives.

A July 5 Tweet from the 13th Judicial Circuit said that due to a dramatic increase in the COVID-19 positivity in Hillsborough County, Chief Judge Ronald Ficarrotta has issued an order suspending in-person proceedings there effective Monday, January 11. That suspension is tentatively set to expire March 1. The Tweet indicated an administrative order is forthcoming.

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