Jury Trials Resume

Posted on: September 28th, 2020

On May 6, 2020, following postponements of all jury and non-jury trials as a result of the pandemic, the Iowa Supreme Court created the Jumpstart Jury Trials Task Force. The Task Force was composed of judges, attorneys, and court personnel from across Iowa and in consultation with public health experts, county officials, and law enforcement was charged with developing policies and procedures for the safe and fair resumption of jury trials in Iowa’s courts. Grefe and Sidney’s Guy Cook was co-chair of the Task Force. The Task Force issued its report to the Iowa Supreme Court on July 6, 2020. On July 22, 2020, based on the Task Force’s recommendations, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an order resuming civil jury trials beginning on September 14 with new health and safety protocols in place. While most counties have resumed civil jury trials, some counties, such as Polk and Dubuque County, have delayed the resumption of civil jury trials until 2021 due to the backlog of criminal and family law cases that developed during the four-month shutdown. This backlog has created a significant trial delay for new civil matters. Normally, civil jury trials are scheduled anywhere from twelve to eighteen month after the filing of the petition. Currently, we are seeing trials scheduled in early 2023 as a result of the backlog.

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