Gem State Roundup

Idaho Supreme Court to return to online court hearings and suspend new jury trials amid COVID surge

By: - September 24, 2021 4:08 am
The Idaho Supreme Court Building

Idaho Supreme Court building in Boise on March 20, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Amid the state’s declaration of crisis standards of care and surging COVID-19 cases, the Idaho Supreme Court will return to online court hearings and no new jury trials, according to a press release.

The new order will take effect on Monday, Sept. 27. Most court hearings will take place online, but exceptions will include trials involving the termination of parental rights and all felony sentencing hearings, according to the release. The court will provide a publicly accessible livestream for hearings that would normally be open to the public.

No new jury trials will begin between Sept. 27 and Dec. 6, the release stated, including new grand jury panels. Existing trials or grand jury proceedings may continue, but jury trials in most Idaho counties have already been temporarily suspended because of the surge in COVID cases.

“This dramatic increase has overburdened Idaho’s health care system,” the order says. “… In light of these concerning developments, we have concluded that further modification of our emergency orders is now warranted.”

The order also states anyone in public areas of a building used solely for court business must wear a mask covering the nose and mouth and maintain six feet of distance from people who do not live in their household, according to the release. In mixed-use buildings with non-court operations, anyone entering a courtroom, clerk’s office, counter area or other spaces used for court business must adhere to the same rules.

Local administrative judges can take further steps for public health and safety as they deem necessary.

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Kelcie Moseley-Morris
Kelcie Moseley-Morris

Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. Moseley-Morris started her journalism career at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, followed by the Lewiston Tribune and the Idaho Press.