DENVER (KDVR) — While most Colorado courtrooms have been closed for the past several months, Denver will resume in-person jury trials on Aug. 3.
“It seems like forever ago for a trial judge. This is work we simply can no longer put off,” said Denver District Court Judge Michael Martinez.
Martinez is ready for trials to resume and hopes jurors are as well.
“From the minute you walk through the door until you leave, you’ll be experiencing jury service unlike you’ve ever had in the past,” he said.
Jurors can now expect to find markers in the courtroom telling them where to sit. Plexiglass barriers will also be installed. Baggies will be placed over shared microphones, and masks will be worn by all.
One thing jurors and courtroom visitors won’t see is the jury box, or at least a jury box with which most people are familiar.
“You won’t have something like you’d see in the old days, a whole screen of jurors and everyone’s in the jury box paying attention and watching the trial. We don’t sit the folks that close (together) anymore,” Martinez said.
Two or three jurors will now sit in the jury box with the rest scattered around the room. The question now is whether jurors will show up during the pandemic.
“We were apprehensive about how jurors would feel about being asked to come and what kind of response rate would we get for the summons,” said Martinez.
Two felony criminal trials were held in Denver District Court this week, serving as a test run of sorts.
Martinez says more jurors showed up than usual, which is a positive sign.
“We need the people to make our system run,” Martinez said.