Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Coats announced yesterday he has entered an order to suspend jury calls in state courts due to the coronavirus pandemic. The suspension won’t apply to jury calls for criminal trials facing imminent speedy trial deadlines. The order suspends jury calls through April 3, and the need for ongoing measures will be evaluated at that time.
“While the timely administration of justice is the cornerstone of our judicial system, protection of public health and safety and the wellbeing of our judicial staff is of paramount importance,” Chief Justice Coats said in a March 16 news release. “We can no longer continue with normal business operations, but in the interest of all Coloradans we are also unable to cease operating entirely. Balancing those factors, I entered today’s order.”
Courts will remain open for essential matters, including petitions and hearings for protection orders, detention hearings for juvenile delinquency cases, shelter hearings in dependency and neglect cases, petitions to appoint an emergency guardian or special conservator, emergency mental health proceedings and proceedings necessary to protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants.
Chief judges of various districts will retain discretion to continue other operations deemed non-essential. The 18th Judicial District, 20th Judicial District and 21st Judicial District have postponed operations through Wednesday, March 18.