Jury trials for criminal cases resume in Greene County
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - If you live in Greene County you may soon be called for jury duty.
Now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted criminal trials are starting to pick up.
Starting June 1st the Greene County court system no longer requires masks, for those who are vaccinated, or health screenings.
But that doesn’t mean safety protocols have been tossed out altogether.
“The court system never closed throughout the pandemic,” said Greene County Presiding Judge Michael Cordonnier
He says it’s been anything but business as usual during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We conducted trials throughout last summer. We suspended them for about 3 months during the middle of winter, during the really difficult times of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years when there was serious issues. We resumed those trials on February 15th,” he says.
It’s a balancing act between due process and health safety.
“What we want is to provide a forum so that people can resolve their disputes,” he said.
Jury Supervior Anthony Rodebush says if you’re called to serve on a jury panel there are rules that must still be followed.
“We are following the CDC guidelines. Three foot spacing. We’re asking you if you haven’t been vaccinated to keep you mask on. If you’ve had the vaccine you have the option to take your mask off now,” he said.
He says, so far, the court system has been able to rely on the community.
“People in Greene County are very civic minded. They are very good about serving as jurors. We thought that we might have an issue at first but actually it’s been good,” said Rodebush.
But it may still be a few months until the court is at full capacity and conducting business as usual.
“We’re part of this community and we don’t want to participate in the spread of any virus that’s not necessary. I think it’s important that at least we do our part to keep the public safe when we are summoning them here to do their civic duty,” said Cordonnier.
Cordonnier says if there is another surge in coronavirus cases he will turn to the CDC, Missouri Superior Court and Greene County Health Department for guidance. He will then decide if protocols need to be tightened up again.
If you are reluctant to serve on a jury for health reasons you can call the courthouse to reschedule or do it online by clicking here.
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