Michigan County suspends jury trials amid surge in COVID cases

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — Jury trials have been suspended in a western Michigan county due to an increase in coronavirus cases, court officials said Monday.

The Ottawa County Probate Court and the 20th Judicial Circuit Court, based in Grand Haven, will not summon the public to courthouses to serve as jurors, according to a statement released by the court. Courts plan to resume trials on February 1. Any trial scheduled to begin before that date will be set for new dates.

Michigan health officials said last week that the state’s record COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations could peak in late January or early February, and they urged the public to take action to help control the spread.

Ottawa County Court officials said their decision was made in consultation with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. Circuit Court Administrator Susan Franklin said judges don’t want to bring large numbers of people into courthouses given current COVID transmission rates.

Courts across the United States have suspended jury trials at various times during the pandemic. The highly contagious omicron variant has caused additional breaks in recent days, including in Indiana’s largest county and the state’s second most populous county.

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