New Yorkers now can’t enter restaurants or movie theaters without showing proof of vaccination, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule excluding the unvaccinated from federal jury service.
U.S. District Judge
The judge said Wednesday, before allowing the jury to end its deliberations for the week, that the court is going to require KN-95 masks when they return. “Come Monday, we will have supplies if needed,” she told the jurors. “Please stay safe over the long weekend,” she said. “I want you all here on Monday.”
Since jury trials resumed in Manhattan federal court last year, witnesses now testify from plexiglass booths fitted with HEPA filters and jurors no longer deliberate in the usual cramped rooms. Instead, they now hold their discussions in spacious courtrooms that have had jury boxes and benches removed and been retrofitted with wide O-shaped tables that ensure there’s at least six feet (1.8 meters) between jurors.
Reconfiguring 11 courtrooms and hiring expert consultants cost around $1 million, said Edward Friedland, the district executive for the Manhattan federal court.
But other judges have taken the additional step of barring the unvaccinated from serving as jurors, citing the risk it poses to other panel members. “The Constitution accords defendants many a right; the right to infect 16 innocent jurors with Covid-19, however, is not among them,” U.S. District Judge
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge
Such concerns aren’t confined to New York. In Theranos founder
Jackson said both the defense and prosecutors in the Holmes case agreed to go to trial with a vaccinated jury. It’s unclear if any have received booster shots, he said, adding that because deliberations are underway it’s unlikely the court or judge will inquire.
Those judges who’ve allowed unvaccinated jurors haven’t explained their reasoning, but defense lawyers have argued that preventing the unvaccinated from serving could make juries less ethnically and racially diverse, given lower vaccination rates in New York’s communities of color.
Nathan, whom President
Prosecutors objected, saying the man would not be “sequestered” like the other jurors and would also have access to the Internet, but Nathan rejected their arguments. The defendant was convicted hours later.
The Maxwell jury began deliberations on Monday after hearing closing arguments in the trial. The British socialite has pleaded not guilty to charges of luring and grooming underage girls for abuse by her ex-boyfriend,
Before excusing the jury after its first full day of deliberations on Tuesday, Nathan reminded them of court policy. “In the courthouse masks are required to be worn at all times,” she said, “unless briefly off for eating and drinking.”
(Updates with new mask requirements in third paragraph)
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