How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Jury Verdicts?

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connecticut crimnal defense lawyerCOVID-19 has affected the lives of everyone in the United States in a variety of ways. People have been forced to make adjustments in multiple areas of their lives, and many people and organizations are working to return to normalcy while dealing with ongoing health concerns. These issues have also affected the court system, and courts were closed for a significant amount of time in 2020 and 2021 to protect people’s safety. While in-person trials have resumed, ongoing issues related to the pandemic have affected court proceedings and jury verdicts. Those who are involved in criminal trials or civil litigation (including personal injury cases) can make sure these issues are addressed correctly by working with an experienced attorney.

Changes in Jury Makeup and Voting

The state of Connecticut has resumed jury trials as of June 1, 2021. To ensure that all participants in a trial, including jurors, judges, plaintiffs, defendants, witnesses, attorneys, and court officials, will be safe, multiple protective measures have been implemented. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be provided to everyone who needs it. Courts will also provide face shields for witnesses, ensuring that jurors and attorneys will be able to observe their facial expressions as they provide testimony.

While courts have taken steps to protect people’s safety, the policies they are following during the pandemic and the ways people are responding to jury summons may affect the fairness of trials. In many cases, courts are excusing unvaccinated people from jury duty. Because men are less likely to be vaccinated than women, and vaccination rates are lower for minorities, this means that juries are less likely to be representative of the population as a whole.

Regardless of concerns about vaccination, certain demographics are less likely to appear for jury duty, and judges are more likely to excuse people from jury duty due to hardships. Studies have found that people who identify as Democrats are more hesitant to serve on a jury, and people in their forties or younger are more likely to ask to be excused from jury duty. This has increased the chances that juries will become deadlocked, and older and more conservative jurors are more likely to rule in favor of defendants in civil cases.

Contact a Hartford Trial Lawyer

At The Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we help our clients ensure that civil or criminal trials are handled correctly during the pandemic. With our experience in jury trials, we can ensure that the proper procedures are followed during jury selection, and we can make sure the right arguments and evidence are presented. We work to protect our clients’ rights at all times and help them achieve their goals. Contact our Connecticut criminal defense and personal injury attorneys at 860-290-8697 to set up a free consultation and get legal help with your case.

Sources:

https://www.law.com/2021/10/14/the-pandemic-is-changing-the-way-jurors-vote/

https://jud.ct.gov/COVID19.htm




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