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Bar groups offer help for resumption of jury trials

Virginia statewide bar associations are offering to help bring jury trials back to Virginia courthouses.

In a June 23 letter to Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons, the six statewide bar groups offered the assistance of their members to develop plans to safely resume jury trials in Virginia.

The letter is signed by leaders of the Virginia Bar Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, the Old Dominion Bar Association, the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, the Virginia chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Virginia Family Law Coalition, according to a VBA announcement.

“We are aware that the work ahead for the trial courts to resume jury trials will be time consuming, but that work will be vital to the full administration of justice in Virginia,” the letter said.

“We also recognize that finding practical solutions to permit jury trials to safely take place as soon as possible will be challenging.

“We appreciate that you have created the Jury Task Force to address reinstatement of jury trials throughout the commonwealth. If we can be of any assistance to you or the Jury Task Force, please do not hesitate to call upon us. Our organizations are blessed with exceptionally smart, talented and creative trial attorneys who stand ready to meet the challenges resuming jury trials brings, and they are at your disposal.”

Copies of the letter went to all justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the VBA said.

Most jury trials in Virginia courts were continued when the judicial emergency was declared March 16 because of health concerns related to COVID-19. On June 22, the court extended the judicial emergency to July 19.