MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2 / Fox 24) – The Midland County District Clerks’s office has sent out 400 juror summons for Sept. 8th and 300 juror summons for Sep. 9th, all for a civil commitment trial scheduled late next month.
“This is our first one since March 2nd,” Alex Archuleta, the Midland County District Clerk said. “It’s been six months that we’ve not had jury trials.”
Midlanders who have been summoned for jury duty can expect this selection to look a lot different. Archuleta said the county had been planning for months on how to safely hold a jury selection during the pandemic.
“We are required by Texas Supreme Court and the Office of Court Administration to follow very specific protocols,” Archuleta said. ” So we worked together, our office, the judicial court, and with risk management.”
Jury selections are typically held at the county court house, but things are changing this time around. The jury selection scheduled for Sep.8th and 9th will take place at Horse Shoe Pavilion. When potential jurors arrive they will have their temperature checked and face masks will be required.
“Once they get in each one of them will be given a face shield,” Archuleta said. “It won’t be absolutely necessary for the beginning part of qualifications, but it will be absolutely necessary during voir dire.”
Since the Horse Shoe is the only place that can allow social distancing during a jury selection, Archuleta said this can be stepping stone for other trials in Midland County to move forward.
” We are going to try to really perfect it, so that in the event that we have to do more of those,” Archuleta said.
But most importantly, Midland County hopes all residents who come in for jury selection feel comfortable despite the circumstances.
“We want them to feel that we worked hard to protect them,” Archuleta said. ” Because that’s the ultimate goal, that is we are protecting the participants.”
Midland County is also encouraging residents who have been called in for jury duty to reach out to them with any COVID-19 related concerns. You can contact them through their COVID-19 phone line at 432-688-4500 Ext.136 or email them at email@example.com