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I am a resident of Santa Barbara County and qualify to serve as a juror. I received a summon to report to jury duty on Monday. There is no information on this summon about what precautions are being taken to prevent spread of illness when in court. I have looked online, https://www.sbcourts.org/dv/jury-service.shtm, and there is no information regarding coronavirus.
The State of California has declared State of Emergency and is implementing social distancing. Employers all over the country are encouraging workers to work remotely when possible, and we are being encouraged to minimize close contact with other people. I am not thrilled about having to report to jury duty on Monday and having to sit in close proximity to other people. Why is the Superior Court of California not being proactive in addressing this topic online? It would be reassuring to see this addressed and also be able to learn about what precautions are being taken if we have no alternative but to gather for jury duty.
Editor’s Note: The Independent asked Darryl Parker, jury commissioner for the Superior Court, who replied that no cases were reported in Santa Barbara yet, but the courts had increased its sanitizing of facilities and placed potential jurors in a large room to give them more space. Hand sanitizer is newly available in jury assembly rooms, and any court personnel who fall sick are sent home. Jurors who are sick can request online for a postponement of their service.
Should the county public health official require social distancing, the court would hold only constitutionally mandated hearings, said Parker: arraignments, criminal defendants who haven’t waived the time for trial, juvenile detention hearings, and emergency protective orders.