First District Courthouse in Logan.
LOGAN — The Utah State Courts are reminding citizens that a limited number of hearings and jury trials are still taking place despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The alert was released as judicial staff report a number of cases where potential jurors, attorneys or witnesses have failed to appear for legal proceedings.
Tania Mashburn, spokesperson for the Utah State Courts, said jury trials and select hearings are still taking place statewide. The Courts are conducting jury trials in compliance with the Utah State Judiciary Risk Phase Response Plan and are taking every possible safety measure including masking and social distancing when trials are held in person.
Jurors and attorneys should continue to appear as scheduled unless they are notified by the Court. Individual judges may be canceling some trials, but they will notify the jurors and other parties if that happens.
Mashburn explained there has been some confusion about whether or not jury trials are canceled. That is because the Salt Lake City Justice Court suspended jury trials and the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah (Federal) suspended jury trials.
However, the federal court order and Salt Lake City justice court order do not affect jury trials happening in state district courts or other county or city justice courts.
Judges in the 1st District Court, covering Cache, Rich, and Box Elder counties, are holding all jury trials in person. Some preliminary and evidentiary hearings are also being held in person. Most other hearings are being conducted virtually, where individuals are expected to participate though web conference or phone.
Mashburn said the Utah State Courts will continue to carefully monitor COVID-19 case counts and consult with health officials moving forward. If any decision is made to cancel jury trials in the future, they will alert the public immediately.