ROCKVILLE, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - In Maryland, jury trials are scheduled to resume early next week – although they’ll look a lot different than what many will remember.
“We feel very confident that we’ve done everything that we can to ensure the safety of everyone who comes in here, and we think people will feel comfortable,” Montgomery County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Robert Greenberg told FOX 5 Wednesday.
Changes will be apparent as soon as jurors walk through the door.
According to a Maryland Judiciary release, anyone entering a courthouse will have to wear a mask, take a COVID-19 questionnaire, and also have their temperature taken. Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned regularly. Also, jury assembly and deliberation rooms, as well as courtrooms, have all been modified to ensure social distance. Plexiglass shields will be prominent throughout courtrooms as well, in addition to other precautions.
Asked why jury trials are resuming given that we are still in a pandemic, Greenberg pointed out that in addition to jury trials being the bedrock of the justice system, some people have already been incarcerated for lengthy periods of time awaiting trials that haven’t been allowed to proceed. He also mentioned that Maryland isn’t the only state bringing trials back, adding that at least Delaware and Ohio already have too.
Greenberg also noted that courthouses in Montgomery County have remained open since March, albeit on a limited basis.
“We have had a very good record in terms of health of the people who work here, the people who try cases here, and we have every reason – while being concerned of course, like we all are – to believe that will continue in the future if we all continue to do what we need to do,” Greenberg explained.
The jury trials are expected to begin Monday. Greenberg said they’ll start with a maximum of one trial per day, in an effort to see how everything goes.