Jackson County Presiding Circuit Judge Jenifer C. Holt announced this week, that effective Sept. 14, new procedures designed to keep jurors, other court participants and the public safe from COVID-19 have been put in place to allow jury trials to resume beginning the week of Oct. 5.
“The new juror summons process has recently been developed in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and will be the first occasion that an online jury qualification process has been used in Alabama state courts,” said Holt.
Holt said those individuals receiving a summons for jury duty will be instructed to log onto a dedicated juror website to complete a short questionnaire, using a secure PIN assigned to each potential juror.
The website may be accessed by computer or on a smart phone. By completing the form, potential jurors will now qualify for jury service or request to be excused from jury service for a recognized exception online rather than in person.
“Jurors who are at a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19 due to age or an underlying medical condition may use the online form to request their jury service be deferred until a later date,” said Holt.
Holt added that all requests to be excused from jury service should be made no later than 12 noon on Sept. 28.
Potential jurors may also log onto the official court website for Jackson County Circuit and District Courts at jackson.alacourt.gov, where additional information is provided regarding jury service.
Holt said safety protocols have been implemented to make jury service safer during the current pandemic. The new procedures include sanitizing surfaces, temperature checking for fever, social distancing measures, contactless sanitizing stations, one way travel staircases, limitations on the number of people permitted in an elevators, a newly configured jury box and a new jury room that permits jurors to maintain an appropriate social distance during deliberations and recesses.
Individuals who receive a juror summons and do not have Internet or smart phone access that will enable them to complete online registration may contact Holt’s office at the telephone number provided on the summons.