Superior Courts chief announces jury trial shutdown due to COVID surge

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CONCORD - Chief Justice of the Superior Court Tina Nadeau has announced the postponement of all jury trials and grand juries in New Hampshire Superior Court throughout the state through the month of January.

The Superior Court had already scheduled a pause in jury trials for the last week in January as a result of the Criminal Defense Task Force recommendation.

All New Hampshire courts will continue to remain open for the public for all other purposes.

"In working with various groups including judges, stakeholders, and public health consultants regarding COVID-19 concerns, I believe that it is prudent to postpone jury trials scheduled for January," noted Nadeau. "We are pausing jury trials because, in part, of the difficulty in managing a juror population who are increasingly having to drop out because of sickness or exposure and the unique challenges these proceedings entail. I believe this temporary pause in jury trials will better allow the courts to safely continue other necessary court operations during the winter surge of COVID-19."

Jury trials are scheduled to resume in February in all counties if the rate of COVID-19 infections decreases substantially.

"While we are currently hopeful that we will be able to conduct jury proceedings in February," Nadeau said, "we will continue to evaluate the safety of conducting jury trials on a week-to-week basis. Bench trials and other court proceedings will remain in-person unless the parties request a remote hearing."

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