There is no doubt that COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on virtually every aspect of life, including the legal and judicial systems. Such has been the case in the State of Texas. The Texas Supreme Court has recently enacted numerous orders pertaining to holding criminal and civil jury trials within the State. At the end of June this year, the Court came out with an 18th Emergency Order, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the major concerns for the Texas courts and other courts throughout the country is jury trials. Jury trials are problematic because prospective jurors who are called in for service must be crowded into a large room, in close proximity with one another, and participate in the voir dire process, which is the process by which judges and lawyers eliminate potential jurors for possible bias. Then, the jurors who are selected must be seated next to one another in the jury box – often for days on end – listening to the evidence presented at trial. Finally, at the conclusion of the trial, jury members are expected to deliberate with one another in a cramped jury room, where social distancing is next to impossible. Given the rapid spread of the virus, most especially in the State of Texas, both criminal and civil jury trials have been postponed several times. However, the State is planning to resume criminal jury trials in the near future.
If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges, the knowledgeable legal team at Granger and Mueller PC can help you explore possible legal options in your case – one of which may be a criminal jury trial. If you decide to take your criminal case to trial, our legal team will zealously advocate for you throughout the proceedings in an attempt to help you obtain a favorable result in your case.
Legal Basis for a Criminal Jury Trial
The right to a trial by jury is one of the oldest and most important components of the legal system in the United States today. It is one of the most fundamental rights of being an American. Criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty. Pursuant to the United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, individuals are guaranteed the right to both a public and a speedy jury trial. Moreover, the trial is to be decided by a jury of the accused’s peers, which is to be impartial.
Postponement of Jury Trials
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the most recent order established by the Texas Supreme Court, jury proceedings in the State are not allowed to take place before September 1, 2020. This new regulation also includes jury selection, which can be a lengthy process depending upon the trial. However, there are some limited exceptions for proceedings that may go forward prior to September 1.
Call an Austin TX Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you are facing criminal charges in Austin, the legal team at Granger and Mueller PC can help you decide if taking your case to trial is the best option. For a free legal consultation and case evaluation with an Austin criminal defense attorney, please contact us online today.