Judge Mead: Court system working to halt coronavirus spread

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Court System is taking steps to protect judges, staff, attorneys and defendants against the coronavirus.

    Assistant Presiding Judge Amy Mead spoke to News of the North about what the ACS is doing to help fight the spread of the disease.

    "The court system is trying to be very proactive," Mead said. "There's a lot of information on the court system's website about the things the court system is putting in place, practices that the administration is putting in place with respect to its employees and the cleanliness of the courthouse. We're asking people who don't feel well to phone in, do their hearings telephonically, and don't come in at all or ask to be rescheduled."

    The Alaska Supreme Court is also working with lower courts to halt the spread of the coronavirus, according to Mead.

    "The Alaska Supreme Court issued an order on Friday that gave the presiding judges in each district the authority to postpone criminal trials, irrespective of a Criminal Rule 45, which grants a defendant a right to a speedy trial," Mead said. "I know the Supreme Court is meeting to talk about further proceedings and I know that jury trials in two of the districts have been postponed next week."

    And in Juneau, the grand jury process will move forward, but in a different location.

    "Grand jury meets every Thursday [and] we've moved grand jury into a much larger room so that people can do social distancing and feel comfortable being there," Mead said. "I think we're in we're going to take it as it comes. We have a jury trial scheduled for [March 23] and that's one of my cases. I'm talking to the attorneys to see if they really intend to move forward."

    More information can be found at courts.alaska.gov.

     

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