FORT WAYNE, Ind. Allen Superior Court will halt jury trials until at least Feb. 14, 2022, due to the latest surge in COVID-19 infections and illnesses in the community.
The pause in jury trials will begin on Monday (Jan. 24, 2022), allowing any proceedings currently underway to be completed. Superior Court’s Board of Judges unanimously approved the pause today.
Superior Court is temporarily halting trials due to the dramatic increase in positive COVID-19 cases and illness among litigants, jurors, prosecutors and other staff. While the pause is in place, bench trials, sentencings and guilty pleas will take place as scheduled.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the Courts moving forward,” said Judge Frances C. Gull, Administrative Judge of Superior Court’s Criminal Division. “In fact, the Allen County Courts have not closed for a single day due to COVID-19. But the best thing for all involved during the current surge in cases is to pause trials until conditions improve.”
Most people called for jury duty are continuing to show up to serve their civic duty. However, exposures, positive cases and illnesses are making it difficult to complete trials once they begin. Current COVID-19 case numbers in Allen County far exceed the levels experienced when jury trials were previously halted in April and December of 2020.
Individuals who have received jury summonses to appear between Jan. 25 and Feb. 10 may disregard those notices.
While the numbers are always in flux due to continuances and guilty pleas, the pause announced today will likely affect 5-10 jury trials. Other counties around Indiana have announced similar halts to jury trials as COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed.
“Hopefully, this current surge has peaked and trials can resume in three weeks,” Judge Gull added. “But for the time being, health and safety need to be our number one priority.”