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Juror COVID-19 Information

During the COVID-19 national emergency, many U.S. district courts across the country postponed or continued jury trials until aggressive policies to protect all participants could be implemented. After an in-depth investigation of protective measures and with the assistance of other government agencies, including health experts, the Northern District Court of Indiana has now resumed conducting jury trials. As the public’s health and safety are a priority to the District Court, the following precautionary measures have been put in place to keep jurors safe during their period of jury service:

  • The most important protective measure is to keep anyone with COVID-19 (“the virus”) out of the courthouse. Therefore, prospective jurors, employees and, in general, anyone entering the Courthouses of the Northern District of Indiana are being screened regarding the virus by being asked questions and by having their temperature taken before being allowed to enter the courthouse.
  • A list of COVID-19 related screening questions have been added to eJuror, our on-line summonsing software.  Each prospective juror will be provided a list of questions regarding exposure to COVID-19, the experiencing of symptoms consistent with having COVID-19, and whether the juror or someone in their household is at high risk for complications from contracting COVID-19 due to a pre-existing condition, age, or other characteristic.  If the juror answers any of these questions affirmatively, the juror should contact the Clerk’s Office and seek an excused absence.
  • Social distancing rules (at least 6 feet of distance between each person) will be enforced during the entrance procedure to the courthouse, movement within the courthouse, as well as during the trial.
  • Prior to being admitted to the courthouse, all persons will answer a series of questions regarding their exposure to the virus and whether they are currently experiencing symptoms associated with the virus. Admission will be denied to those who respond affirmatively. Additionally, using a no-contact thermometer, all persons seeking to enter the courthouse will have their temperature taken and those with temperatures above 100.3° will be denied entrance to the courthouse. As a result of this screening and the need to maintain social distancing, the admission process may take longer than normal and may involve waiting outside.  Therefore, please dress appropriately for the expected weather conditions.
     
  • Masks and gloves will be offered to prospective jurors for their use during the courthouse entrance process. Masks are required to be worn in the public areas of the courthouse by all individuals.  Alternatively, prospective jurors can bring their own personal protection equipment to the courthouse.
     
  • Court staff and employees of government agencies, which are tenants of the courthouse, will undergo similar screening and safety measures conducted by their employing office.
  • Frequent cleanings using EPA-approved disinfectants will routinely take place of high-touch areas, such as tables, doorknobs, elevator buttons, faucets, and restroom facilities.

  • Hand sanitizer solutions are readily available throughout the building.

  • Courtrooms are configured to comply with social distancing guidelines and, where appropriate, barriers have been employed to provide added protection.

  • To further comply with social distancing guidelines, furniture has been removed from some areas and permissible seating options are designated.

  • Only two people at a time will be allowed to share an elevator so social distancing can occur.

  • Restrooms have been fitted with signage outlining appropriate handwashing procedure and hand sanitizer solution has been made available.

  • Procedures have been revised regarding the delivery method and type of food and drink provided to jurors.

  • Consultation with various individuals, including health officials, and much thought has been given regarding how to safely resume jury trials in the Northern District. We believe the measures outlined above provide a high degree of safety to all who enter the courthouse. The role jurors play in our justice system is a crucial one. Quite simply, jurors are sometimes necessary to ensure justice continues to move forward.  As we all adapt to the “new normal” resulting from COVID-19, the Northern District of Indiana will continue to make the necessary changes to ensure your health remains a priority.