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Posted on: October 14, 2020

IN-PERSON JURY TRIALS RESUME NOV. 2

Lady Justice statue in foreground with law books and gavel blurred in background

Under direction of state Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady, Florida Courts are pursuing a safe-steps return to more traditional operations. Sixth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Anthony Rondolino recently instructed courts in Pasco and Pinellas Counties to begin preparations for Phase 2 functions, clearing the path toward restarting trials with in-person jurors.

A modest schedule of trials is on the calendars at the courthouses in east and west Pasco beginning Nov. 2. Accordingly, the Office of Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller has issued its first summonses for prospective jurors since COVID-19 concerns suspended trials in March.

To optimize the safety of all who come to the West Pasco Judicial Center or Robert Sumner Judicial Center, deputy clerks are taking every precaution recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These steps include:

  • Limiting the number of jurors called to allow for social distancing in each Jury Assembly Room.
  • Spacing out the days of the week on which jurors are summoned.
  • Wearing face coverings and installing Plexiglas barriers.
  • Locating hand-sanitizing stations throughout each courthouse.
  • Frequently disinfecting common-area surfaces.
  • Details may be found at https://www.pascoclerk.com/260/Jury-Services.

In addition to being required to wear face coverings, prospective jurors will undergo health screenings before they enter the Jury Assembly Room.

Excusals for potential jurors adversely affected by coronavirus are available and detailed by clicking Postponements and Excusals on the Jury Services page of the Clerk’s website. These automatic excusals include:

  • Inability to pass a health screening as a result of COVID-type symptoms.
  • Experienced COVID-19 symptoms in previous 14 days.
  • Has had close contact with someone with a COVID-19 diagnosis or is awaiting COVID-19 test results within the past 14 days.
  • Awaiting test results to determine if the potential juror has COVID-19.
  • Under restrictions to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.
  • At higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 as identified by the CDC and requests excusal.
  • Caring for a child or relative whose regular care provider is closed or unavailable due to reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Is receiving leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Prospective jurors adversely affected financially by COVID-19 may, under penalty of perjury, request a postponement of up to six months (pending judicial approval). These persons include: 

  • Those recently returning to work after being unemployed as a result of COVID-19.
  • Those who suffered a financial or personal loss as a result of COVID-19 that makes it a hardship to perform jury service.

Juror summonses are sent, via U.S. Mail, randomly to Pasco residents who are U.S. citizens and have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. Recipients are encouraged to read their summons carefully for dates, times, and reporting locations.

Prospective jurors may – and are urged to – register online. Once registered, updates regarding their service will be delivered automatically to the contact point they provided. 

Jury service, a duty specified in the Constitution, is among the highest callings any citizen can perform. The Jury Team at the Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller’s Office looks forward to resuming its roles as hosts and safeguards for those who fulfill their service to the nation's judicial system.


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