Jury trials temporarily suspended in Pasco County
Sixth Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino has temporarily suspended all jury trials in Pasco County due to the recent spike there in positive COVID-19 tests, among other factors.
No juries will be impaneled in either of the two courthouses there, in New Port Richey and in Dade City, and no witnesses expected to testify will be required to go to those facilities. Trials will continue in Pinellas County, for now.
Chief Judge Rondolino’s decision came after a review December 8 by him, Trial Court Administrator Gay Inskeep, and court counsel Jennifer Parker of recent COVID-19 data in Pasco County. Pasco’s positivity rate of those tested broke 10%, a threshold that requires chief judges to consider changing his or her court operational plan, which Chief Judge Rondolino has done. In addition, hospitalizations and emergency department visits have also increased, according to the court. The suspension of trials in Pasco County is to be effective until at least January 4, 2021, and may continue if circumstances do not improve.
All jury trials had been put on hold across the state by the Florida Supreme Court in March. The Sixth Circuit transitioned to Phase 2 in September and started jury trials in October.