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Jury trials in Hamilton County on pause due to COVID-19

Posted at 4:23 PM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 16:34:46-04

CINCINNATI — Effective Monday, jury trials in Hamilton County will be on pause indefinitely as the threat of increasing COVID-19 cases continues in the county.

Any jury trial currently in progress will continue until concluded, according to a release from presiding Judge Charles Kubicki. The Hamilton County Grand Jury will continue to hear cases.

“Unfortunately, it is necessary to suspend jury trials in Hamilton County until further notice," Kubicki said in the release. "This is not something I do lightly."

Ohio's Public Health Advisory System currently lists Hamilton County's current status in the red alert Level 3 with an asterisk, which means the county approaching the highest risk level.

"No one wants to suspend jury trials -- both the defendants and victims want resolution as soon as possible -- but we must consider public health and safety," said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters in a news release. "As such, this is a necessary action to do what we can to help flatten the curve of COVID cases.”

“Our office agrees with the decision of the Courts in taking this action," wrote Hamilton County Public Defender Raymond Faller. "The safety of all participants is paramount.”

Jury trials were first suspended in Hamilton County in March as the pandemic picked up steam in the U.S. It took more than four months for jury trials to resume in the county.

Hamilton County is seeing the highest COVID-19 case counts since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Dr. Evaline Alessandrini, Chief Medical Officer at UC Health. Health officials confirmed 227 COVID-19 cases on Thursday alone, Alessandrini said. Two weeks ago, health officials confirmed 114 cases in one day.