The Midland County, Texas District and County Courts announce that criminal and civil jury trials are tentatively scheduled to resume in March 2021. The actual decision to resume jury trials will be made according to the Jury Proceeding Addendum to COVID-19 Operating Plan for the Midland County Judiciary.
According to Jeff Robnett, 441st District Judge and the current Administrative Judge for Midland County, Texas, the jury proceeding aspect of the COVID-19 operating plan for the Midland County judiciary was formulated “recognizing the need to ensure the health and safety of jurors, litigants, attorneys, visitors, court staff, judges, and other individuals entering the buildings housing the courts." To address the need to protect citizens and, at the same time, resume jury trials, the courts of Midland County have implemented a series of protective measures for jury proceedings. These protective measures include using the Horseshoe Arena for jury selection and using reconfigured court rooms at the Midland County Courthouse for actual jury trials. Under the jury trial plan, there are restrictions as to the number of individuals allowed in a courtroom at any one time during a jury trial, as well as the use of both face masks and face shields during a jury trial. The jury proceeding plan also includes the use of EMS personnel to conduct COVID-19 screenings at the Horseshoe Arena as prospective jurors check in at the facility and as selected jurors report to individual courtrooms at the Midland County Courthouse. Numerous other parts of the jury trial plan are all intended to ensure a safe and secure setting for all parts of a jury trial, such as the routine disinfecting of chairs, paper exhibits, and microphone wind screens. Four jury trials have already occurred in 2020 using the jury proceeding safety plan, at The Horseshoe Arena and at the Midland County Courthouse, with no issues reported, and with very positive feedback from the participants. A copy of the jury proceeding addendum to the COVID-19 operating plan for the Midland County Judiciary is attached.
Jury Proceeding Addendum to Covid-19 Operating Plan for the Midland County Judiciary