Federal trials expected to resume in Indiana district


INDIANAPOLIS — Federal jury trials suspended last fall amid a surge in coronavirus cases are expected to resume in April in all divisions of the Southern District of Indiana, a judge announced Friday.

Chief Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson said the court anticipates in-person jury trials to resume April 5 in all divisions of the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, which has courts in Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Evansville and New Albany.

Magnus-Stinson also said that clerk offices will reopen Tuesday to the public in all of the divisions.

The Southern District had suspended jury trials in November after Gov. Eric Holcomb reinstated limits on crowd sizes for nearly every Indiana county in response to weeks of sharp increases in Indiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations and new infections.

Indiana’s rates of new COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have declined steeply since peaking in early December.

The resumption of jury trials does not preclude a judge from continuing a jury trial for reasons related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Magnus-Stinson said in a statement.

She said court clerks may temporarily excuse any person summoned for jury service “upon a showing of undue hardship or extreme inconvenience.” But that person will either be summoned later for jury service or returned to a pool from which names are randomly selected for jury duty.

The Southern District has created a page on its website that contains all of its orders, news releases and other information regarding court operations during the pandemic.

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