The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the daily lives of most Coloradans. The impact is so far reaching that the not even the state’s judicial processes were immune.
When Governor Polis announced the stay at home order, most courts closed to all but the most essential functions. Now, with the stay-at-home order set to expire April 26, the question on many people’s mind is: when will the courts re-open?
The good news is that under the new safer-at-home initiative that will take effect next week, courts can begin—slowly—returning to normal. Courthouses are gradually adding support for more in-person judicial processes, and the use of an online videoconferencing software called Webex allows many other parts of the judicial system to function, albeit in a slightly nontraditional way. Since the process for reopening varies slightly in courthouses across the state, it’s important to check the guidelines for the specific courthouse that has jurisdiction over any given case.
The bad news is that one major obstacle remains to getting the judicial process completely up and running again: jury trials. As the jury selection process requires a large number of people to gather in a small space, jury trials present a problem in the battle against COVID-19. To this end, the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court has issued an order that no jury trials will take place until at least June 1, 2020.
Provided everything goes well, things appear as though they will be slowly returning to normal in the coming weeks and months. The situation is almost unprecedented and the Colorado judicial process is improvising just like everyone else. The best guidance in this confusing time for the law is to contact an attorney about your case for expert guidance.
Mr. Krizman is a criminal defense attorney in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in providing relentless defense for domestic violence, DUI, and drug crimes. He is a former public defender who has also worked for a district attorney and is licensed in the State of Colorado, and the United States Federal Court, District of Colorado. Mr. Krizman is a member of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, Colorado Bar Association, Denver Bar Association, and Arapahoe County Bar Association. A Colorado native, he has a law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in Government and World Affairs from the University of Tampa. Call him today at 720.819.7317.