Boulder County suspends jury trials into 2021 amid Colorado coronavirus spike

Jury trials in Boulder County are suspended until January because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, 20th Judicial District Chief Judge Ingrid Bakke ordered Thursday.

Jury trials in the judicial district will be postponed at least until Jan. 19, according to the one-paragraph order. The move follows a similar suspension in Denver’s courts last week as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the state. In Denver, jury trials are postponed until Jan. 4.

“In consideration of the current circumstances statewide, as well as specific to Boulder County, it has been determined that it is in the interest of public health to suspend all jury trials,” the Boulder County order reads.

The suspension of jury trials in the busy district will exacerbate the already unprecedented jury trial backlog that’s grown across the state as the pandemic slowed court operations and stopped most jury trials for several months earlier this year.

The decision comes as local health officials announced this week that Boulder, Broomfield and Jefferson counties will be moving to the second-highest level of coronavirus restrictions in the next few days — the orange level — amid rising cases, hospitalizations and test positivity.

In the First Judicial District, which includes Jefferson and Gilpin counties, jury trials are ongoing but severely limited. In an Oct. 30 order, Chief Judge Jeffrey Pilkington said that any jury trials between Nov. 2 and Jan. 18 must be completed within the same week in which they were started, and said that no jury trials would be held in the weeks around the holidays, including between Nov. 30 and Dec. 11 and between Dec. 28 and Jan. 18.

Jury trials have been ongoing in the First Judicial District since early August, when a statewide moratorium on jury trials was lifted, according to Pilkington’s order. In that time, the district conducted 22 jury trials in district court and 50 in county court.

In the 17th Judicial District, which includes Adams and Broomfield counties, jury calls have been suspended in Adams County courts until Dec. 7, while courts in Broomfield have so far continued as normal.

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