Kentucky jury trials to resume in the Commonwealth


A judge’s gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

KENTUCKY (WEHT)– Court trials in Kentucky that were put on hold for months may finally be heard by a jury with social distancing guidelines in place.

Even with strict health guidelines set in place, Claud Porter, the Daviess County Attorney fears starting trials in August may be too soon.

“I think we are going to have a lot of jurors who are going to be reluctant to appear,” said Porter.

Kentucky Supreme Court announced criminal jury trials and eviction actions can begin as early as next week. Now court officials are trying to figure out how to conduct a trial while keeping everyone at least six feet apart.

“Even though we can keep them socially distanced in some of the bigger courtrooms, it will be a trick to do some of that,” Porter said.

Courts have had virtual hearings since June. Judges are still playing catch up, hearing all their cases which had to be put on hold during the pandemic.

“Things just kind of piled up and backlogged and that’s what we are dealing with now,” said Austin Vowels, an attorney in Henderson.

Vowels told Eyewitness news, having virtual hearings has been simpler in some ways.

“It definitely makes it a lot easier to call a witness if you don’t have to drag them into court. You can just call them up on the phone or get them to jump on a video conference,” Vowels said.

Even though criminal trials can be held in Kentucky as early as next week, civil jury trials are paused until at least October , or when the judge deems it safe.

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(This story was originally published on July 27, 2020)

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