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What if your jury’s quarantined?

Just in time for flu season, the Supreme Court of Virginia has released its “Pandemic Influenza Bench Book for Virginia’s Court System.” It’s a 314-page prescription for dealing with an outbreak of infectious disease that could threaten the orderly operation of the justice system in the commonwealth.

Southampton Circuit Chief Judge Westbrook J. Parker chaired the 46-member commission, which includes lawyers, representatives from all levels of Virginia’s court system and officials from the law enforcement community and state public health agencies.

The commission, which began working in April 2009, has produced a volume that is both a “reference tool” and a “planning tool.” Reference materials and worksheets that cover communication, security and human resource issues will help administrators figure out how to keep the courts running.

The Pandemic Bench Book will be available electronically on Virginia’s Judicial System website, and users are advised to use the online links to access the latest information, as influenza strains evolve and health officials’ recommendations may change by the time court officials need to use the manual.
By Deborah Elkins

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