Hamilton County jury trials suspended due to COVID-19 case increase

Hamilton County jury trials suspended due to COVID-19 case increase
All jury trials will be suspended starting next week until further notice.

HAMILTON CO., Ohio (FOX19) - Jury trials have been put on pause as Hamilton County deals with an increase in COVID-19, according to Court Administrator Patrick Dressing.

Starting on Oct. 26, all jury trials will be suspended until further notice, Dressing announced.

Jury trials that are already underway will continue until they are concluded.

Dressing said the decision to suspend jury trials was made as Hamilton County sits on the state’s watch list of moving to the highest alert level - purple.

Judge Charles Kubicki said this decision is necessary but unfortunate.

“Unfortunately, it is necessary to suspend jury trials in Hamilton County until further notice. This is not something I do lightly. After considering local conditions, the Ohio Public Health Advisory system rating and recommendations, and in consultation with Hamilton County Municipal Court Presiding and Administrative Judge Heather Russell, other Hamilton County judges, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, Hamilton County Public Defender Ray Faller and Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil, this is a necessary action.

"COVID cases have risen dramatically in Hamilton County and the court system has not been immune. The courts are distinct from other types of businesses in that many participants are compelled to appear whether as a defendant, witness, or potential juror.

"To do what we can to keep people healthy, it is necessary to stop jury trials for some period of time. We will be watching the numbers closely and will consult with the appropriate health authorities to determine when we can safely resume jury trials. It is everyone’s goal to resume jury trials as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Earlier in the day on Friday, health officials in Hamilton County met and talked about the rise of COVID-19 cases.

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