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Jury trials postponed to Oct. 2 after ‘concerning spike’ in Hawaii COVID-19 cases

All jury trials have been postponed until after Oct. 2 after a “concerning spike” in COVID-19 cases, Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald ordered today.

In response to the coronavirus’ presence in Hawaii, Recktenwald had ordered on April 17 that all state trials in civil, criminal and family courts be postponed until late May.

He had ordered on June 23 that jury trials resume Sept. 1 with social distancing mandates being practiced. But he said that since that order “there has been a concerning spike in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations statewide.”

A total of 2,763 cases in Hawaii have been identified by the state Department of Health, including six days since July 29 in which more than 100 new cases were reported. Prior to that, the highest number of cases reported in one day in Hawaii was 73.

Although the severity of the outbreak varies between the different circuits, given the increase in inter-island travel, the capacities of the health care systems on each island, the fluidity of the changes in public health conditions, and guidance from public health officials, an extension of the jury trial commencement date is necessary and prudent at this time,” Recktenwald said in his order.

Circuit courts may resume jury trials Oct. 5 if no other “extraordinary developments” take place. And when they do, all jury trials will comply with social distancing mandates, he said.

The order does not affect non-jury trials.

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