(WWJ) The Michigan Supreme Court has recommended that all civil jury trials in the state, as well as all criminal jury trials where the defendant is not in custody, be adjourned due to concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The news came Wednesday, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday night announced that two people had tested positive for the virus in the state; both in the metro Detroit area.
In response, the governor declared a State of Emergency and urged everyone to take preventive measures to lower their risk and protect coworkers, family, and friends from the spread of the virus.
In addition to recommending a hold on all jury trials (excluding those with a defendant awaiting trial in jail), the Supreme Court recommends judged not hold any person in contempt of court because they were late due to a virus-related issue.
"Michigan’s judiciary is heeding this advice and taking action to lower the risk to litigants, court staff, and the public who visit our courts. We are also committed to making sure that our justice system continues to operate," Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack said, in a statement.
McCormack is urging courts to comply with advice from state and county health departments, and implement plans for remote hearings whenever possible.
Any restrictions on court proceedings are expected to continue while the State of Emergency remains in effect.