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Hawaii Supreme Court allows extension of smaller grand juries till Dec. 31

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The state Supreme Court ordered Wednesday to extend the temporary order that allows smaller grand juries on Oahu to continue until Dec. 31 due to the recent spike in Oahu’s COVID-19 positivity rate.

The order may be modified or extended as necessary.

The June 5, 2020 Order Temporarily Suspending In Part Hawaii Rules of Penal Procedure Rule 6(a) temporarily suspended the requirement of having 16 grand jurors empaneled, and approved the temporary reduction in number to 12 jurors through July 31, 2020.

Because the positivity rate of COVID-19 cases increased, and health concerns and physical distancing guidance remained in place, the order was extended to June 30, 2022.

After the governor’s March 4, 2020 declaration of a state of emergency due to the pandemic, the chief justice issued a March 16, 2020 order postponing non-urgent court business.

Beginning June 1, 2020, grand jury proceedings were allowed to start. But at First Circuit Court’s Kaahumanu Hale, there was not enough room to place 16 grand jurors, in addition to the presence of necessary individuals, so the court sought to reduce the number of jurors.

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