Macomb County courtroom introduces precautions to protect jurors

Video testimony doesn’t cut it, says judge

NEW BALTIMORE, Mich. – The COVID-19 pandemic has forced creative solutions to many problems.

A court in Macomb County is trying to get things back on track and keep its juries safe.

The cases inside Judge Bill Hackel’s New Baltimore courtroom haven’t changed during the pandemic, but the interaction have. Like many courts, some of those needing to appear are doing it virtually and some are coming in person.

But jury trials haven’t happened since the pandemic began. Hackel wants jury trials back because he said video doesn’t cut it and that jurors need to see the subtleties of how a defendant or witness acts.

In addition to a jury box with protective plexiglass, the jury room has been moved to a larger space to encourage social distancing.

And when trials do come back, there’s plexiglass around the witness stand too.

Hackel said he’s asking for everyone to be patient as “we’re all trying to get through this.”

More: Reopening Michigan updates

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