Web Exclusive: First impressions of the first COVID-era jury trial

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The Indiana Lawyer on 8/5/2020 by Katie Stancombe

Even with at least three in-person jury trials under his belt since coronavirus-related suspensions were lifted in July, Lake Superior Civil Division Judge Bruce Parent still feels uncomfortable.

The Indiana Supreme Court permitted the first in-person jury trial to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic in Parent’s Lake County courtroom last month. Indiana trial courts were instructed in mid-May not to resume jury trials until at least July 1 without prior approval from the high court.

But as state courts begin to take cautious steps toward in-person proceedings, jury trials in all divisions of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana have once again been suspended through at least August 31. The pause is due to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases across the state and within the district following a brief resumption of jury trials.