Although many courthouses throughout the country are shut down. Judges in Collin County are still doing their best to move cases forward. Judges have encouraged parties attend mediation to settle disputes out of court and Zoom video hearings have been taking place in most courts. Judge Miskel in the 470th Judicial District Court has even conducted a jury trial via Zoom https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-courts-texas/texas-prepares-for-a-pandemic-first-a-jury-trial-by-zoom-idUSKBN22U1FE?feedType=RSS&feedName=technologyNews.
The parties in that case picked a jury by video conference and then presented evidence to the jury. The amount of people needed for jury trials presents a special challenge for cases set for trial, but apparently even Zoom conferences can help to meet that requirement.
It will be interesting to see how this develops in the future. Many courts are eyeing a return to in-person hearings, but this may be one way to limit the number of people required at court even when things do start to open up. The judges recognize the need for justice to continue during the pandemic and are doing their best to meet that need.
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It's been a while since Texas courts have conducted very many in-person proceedings, but new guidance from the Texas Office of Court Administration is making that a reality again. The Office of Court Administration has set June 1 or after as when counties may once again start conducting non-essential hearings in person. Courts are advised to discuss guidelines for reopening with the county and local health authorities. Additionally, courts must submit an operating plan to the Regional Presiding Judge. Upon receipt by the Regional Presiding Judge and acknowledgement that the operating plans meets certain requirements, courts may commence in-person proceedings.
This update doesn't include jury trials and there's still no guidance on when jury trials when be held again. The Office of Court Administration does anticipate that jury trials will resume this summer.
Many courts have been able to conduct much of its regular docket via video conferencing, but it will definitely be easier once in-person hearings are available again. The full guidance from the Office of Court Administration is available at here.