Trials by jury will be allowed to resume in Georgia, according to a release from the Supreme Court of Georgia.
The state halted all jury trials five months ago due to the pandemic.
“We have put into place rigorous safety protocols for grand jury proceedings and jury trials because we understand that the public must have confidence to come and serve on juries. It is paramount to all our judges that our citizens realize that their safety has been thoroughly considered,” Chief Justice Harold D. Melton said in a news release from the court.
The chief justice intends to issue the order Saturday that will allow courts to resume jury trials, according to the release. The order will require courts to follow safety guidelines.
“At the beginning of this emergency, we all hoped, and maybe even assumed, that this pandemic would come to a relatively quick end,” Melton said. The delay of trials has made it “difficult for everybody involved in our justice system – litigants, victims, witnesses, lawyers, judges, and jurors. We must move forward,” he added
While the court will allow trials to resume, they will not actually start right away since potential jurors will need to be summoned. In September, the Georgia Supreme Court allowed local courts to resume grand jury proceedings as longs as they could be "done safely and in compliance with public health guidance based on local conditions," the chief justice said at the time.
Georgia is home to more than 10 million people, according to the US Census. More than 7,000 have died and nearly 325,000 have been infected with Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.