Macomb County court turns to the airwaves to safely conduct jury selection

First jury trial began in June

Macomb County judge uses FM radio to safely conduct jury trials
Macomb County judge uses FM radio to safely conduct jury trials

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – A Macomb County court found a way to keep moving through the docket while still operating within COVID restrictions.

Part of the issue they faced was during jury selection, they couldn’t physically put potential jurors inside. So they turned to the radio for a solution.

Judge Mark Fratarcangeli works at the 40th District Court in Saint Clair Shores. He hasn’t had a jury trial for more than a year.

“Everybody has been on hold for over a year now,” Fratarcangeli said. “All the judges in the county are trying to catch up.”

During jury selection, normally 40 to 60 jurors would be packed into a courtroom. Current capacity rules in Michigan are much smaller than that. So the court has the potential jurors wait in their vehicles.

They installed an FM transmitter, with a microphone, right in front of the judge. That means the 40-60 jurors can sit in their cars and listen.

The judge said their first jury trial began last week and everything went well.

Read: Continuous COVID coverage

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Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

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