Lawyers weigh the consequences of postponed jury trials

Lawyers weigh the consequences of postponed jury trials

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - This week the Alabama Supreme Court extended the freeze on jury trials until Sept. 14.

Valley lawyers tell WAFF 48 News, the decision has impacts which could last years.

Attorney Tommy James represents victims of crimes in civil suits.

He said the state supreme court’s order means justice delayed, and ultimately justice denied.

“In a sense they’re being re-victimized by having a trial date, having another trial date, being put off and put off, it’s having a devastating effect on them,” he said.

He said safety is important, but an already overworked system will be crippled when juries come back.

“Criminals are not taking a COVID holiday, they’re still committing crimes, getting arrested, it’s going to create a tremendous backlog,” James said.

Criminal defense attorney Nick Lough echoed the safety concerns, but said bringing back juries too soon has its own issues.

“I want to make sure that person, that juror, is paying full attention to everything that we’re saying during that trial. We want to make sure our clients have a fair trial, and if somebody is concerned about catching COVID-19 or their health and safety, then they don’t need to be sitting in a jury box because they’re not paying full attention to maybe what’s going on," he said.

The court order does allow other in-person hearings to begin after May 15.

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