PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Seven months into the pandemic and jury trials in Allegheny County are starting back up.
Only now, the entire process will look a little bit different – that’s because they will be happening inside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
If you’re called for jury duty, you’ll find two large rooms that hold up to 80 jurors each with a lot of space for social distancing.
However, before you make it that far – you must go through the pre-screening process.
Prospective jurors will stand six feet apart and be checked for COVID symptoms. Once through the doors, the line will split in two for temperature checks.
If they pass the screenings, they’ll go through the metal detector and X-Ray machine.
Once through, there are a few options, depending on what kind of case you’re assigned to.
There are separate spots for criminal and civil cases, then you head into the jury selection room.
“At the end of the day, justice delayed is justice denied,” said defense attorney Phil DiLucente.
Defense attorney Phil DiLucenete says he’s happy to see trials picking back up.
“It’s been burdensome not only for victims, defendants, the lawyers involved, the judges involved and so now we finally have an opportunity to get these cases moved from the backlog and actually heard,” said DiLucente.
Traffic citations were the only cases heard on Monday but jury selection should be happening in a couple of days.
“Today went well. No issues at all. However, we do know that the real test will come when we start with jury picks which I believe is Wednesday this week,” said Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus with the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office.
The courtrooms for traffic and civil court look fairly similar.
Chairs are spaced out, there’s clear plastic glass for protection, the bench up front, and everything is sanitized when the day wraps up.
This will happen through the end of 2020.
Criminal trials, however, will still be held in the courthouse and City County Building for security reasons.