Submitted By: Rita Miller
The Lee County Clerk of Courts was recently selected to participate in a pilot program to evaluate how to conduct civil jury trials remotely. The initiative is designed to help reduce jurors’ exposure to COVID-19 while serving.
There are five different methods of remote jury trials being tested across the State to help the Courts determine what works best. In Lee County, prospective jurors will receive a traditional jury summons and will report in person to a 1ocation outside the courthouse for the selection process on June 29, June 30, and July 2. If selected, they will receive instructions on how to log into the trial via Zoom, a video conferencing program.
“Access to justice starts with our jurors.” said Linda Doggett, Lee County Clerk of Court. “To ensure the judicial process runs smoothly, we’ve taken several measures to protect their health and well-being throughout their service. Our goal is to keep our jurors safe.”
When entering the courthouse, jurors and courthouse visitors must wear masks, have their temperatures checked, and stay six feet from others. Commons areas, including the jury assembly room and restrooms, are also frequently deep cleaned.
To participate in the pilot program, the plaintiff and defendant must agree to conduct the trial remotely.
The pilot program includes five judicial circuits composed of 15counties throughout the state. The circuits were selected by the COVID·19 Workgroup created by Chief Justice Charles T. Canady to advise him on court operations. The circuits were selected based on their geography, local infection rates, and technological ability.
Criminal cases are not being considered for the trial pilot program since they typically involve more complex issues of constitutional rights.
Earlier this month. Chief Justice Canady suspended in-person jury duty and jury trials through July 17.
For more information about the Lee County Clerk’s office, please visit LeeClerk,org.
ABOUT THE CLERK’S OFFICE
The Florida Constitution established the Clerk of the Circuit Court as a public trustee, responsible for safeguarding public records and public funds. Clerk Linda Doggett is directly elected by and accountable to Lee County residents. In addition to the role of Clerk of the Circuit Court, the Clerk is the County Recorder and Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners, and the Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Auditor for Lee County.