No jury trials for Philly public defenders until key employees are vaccinated for COVID-19

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia’s public defenders will no longer do jury trials until key employees are vaccinated for COVID-19.

The move was announced in a letter from Keir Bradford-Grey, chief of the Defender Association of Philadelphia. According to several sources, the decision was made after a public defender had to quarantine after possible exposure to a client they believed was COVID-19 positive.

The Defender Association had been working for weeks to get a few dozen lawyers vaccinated — during the current rollout phase, which is 1b, which does not include attorneys.

Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley says they’ll have to wait their turn.

"The legal category is an essential worker category that’s in 1c. We know that there’s a push for people who want to be vaccinated, but they’re in 1c, and so are not eligible right now," Farley said.

Judges, attorneys and court staff have also been pushing for access. City officials have said they are working with criminal justice agencies to identify those most at risk.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio