This week, jury trials have commenced in Lake, Hernando and Sumter counties after nearly a year hiatus. Jury trials are expected to commence in Marion County next week, and Citrus County the week of March 15th. The decision was made after the counties’ COVID-19 positivity rates for the most recent two-week period were below 11% and other benchmark criteria were met.
The courts have been closed for jury trials since last March. The court has only held hearings such as first appearances and bond hearings for the past year. The Office of the State Attorney, however, has been open, resolving cases and preparing for trials all year long.
“My team and I look forward to getting back to what we do best,” said State Attorney Bill Gladson. “We are excited to reengage with the public and pursue long awaited justice for victims.”
To keep visitors safe, the Fifth Judicial Circuit has implemented many safety procedures. Courthouse personnel frequently clean and sanitize all traffic areas of the courthouse and courtrooms are cleaned after each session. Everyone entering courthouses are required to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing. And, health screenings, including temperature checks, are required as you enter the front doors. Some courthouses have added plexiglass barriers throughout the courtroom.
For more information about the safety precautions being implemented at your courthouse, please visit the Clerk of the Court’s website for your county.