Making room for the jury: How a California court goes back to work

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 29, 2020 - Duration: 01:10s

Making room for the jury: How a California court goes back to work

Wearing face masks and seated six feet apart, jurors have returned to a California courthouse, as the state eases sweeping lockdowns imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Making room for the jury: How a California court goes back to work

With every second seat blocked off, only nine of the 12 jurors were able to fit in the small jury box in Santa Clara Superior Court's department 53 courtroom when a suspended jury trial resumed on May 18.

The remaining three, and three alternates, sat on the main floor, next to tables holding antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer and plastic 'sneeze guard' screens.

The judge and attorneys' desks are enclosed by transparent plastic barriers, and witnesses provide their testimonies from behind a screened podium, which is cleaned and sanitized after every use.

The defendant has his own screened desk and communicates with his lawyers via a secure chat function on a laptop.

Everyone in the courtroom is required to wear a protective face covering, although witnesses may remove their masks while they are speaking.

"They all have plexiglass around them, which adds another measure of safety, even though both the attorneys, all the attorneys and the defendant are always wearing masks," said Santa Clara Deputy Sheriff Gary Zimmerman.

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