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COVID-19 Related News Articles

Track all of the news articles about the federal Judiciary's response and recovery during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Omicron Puts Strain on Jury Trials

An enclosed lectern for lawyers is equipped with an air filter in the Southern District of New York.

Published onJanuary 25, 2022

After more than a year of working to conduct justice in the face of a global pandemic, federal courts are being buffeted by omicron, whose rapid speed of transmission is making jury trials more vulnerable to COVID-19 interruptions.

As COVID-19 Cases Fall, Juries Get Back to Work

Published onMay 27, 2021

As coronavirus (COVID-19) case totals continue to decline in the United States, federal courts are rapidly expanding the number of jury trials and other in-person proceedings.

Defenders Navigate Uncharted Territory During Pandemic

In a Baltimore courtroom, plexiglass divides the parties and court staff, and juror chairs are being kept at a safe social distance.

Published onMarch 25, 2021

Working on the front lines of justice amid the pandemic, federal defenders are navigating uncharted territory as they work to maintain virtual access to clients in detention facilities and participate in socially distanced trials and hearings.

Smoke Tests Protect Courtroom Air From COVID-19

Published onMarch 4, 2021

Even as vaccines begin to protect the public from the coronavirus (COVID-19), one of the Judiciary’s biggest priorities is ensuring that the air inside courtrooms and hallways remains safe as courts schedule more in-person legal proceedings.  

A new U.S. Courts video highlights a simple technique used to protect court users: a smoke test, which makes air currents inside buildings visible.

As Pandemic Lingers, Courts Lean Into Virtual Technology

Published onFebruary 18, 2021

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) has dragged on, a small number of courts have begun conducting virtual bench trials and even virtual civil jury trials in which jurors work from home. Here is a review of ways courts are using electronic communications to deliver justice during the pandemic.

Courts Suspending Jury Trials as COVID-19 Cases Surge

Published onNovember 20, 2020

About two dozen U.S. district courts have posted orders that suspend jury trials or grand jury proceedings, and scale back other courthouse activities in response to a sharp nationwide rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. The surge in new court orders in recent weeks marks a significant pause in efforts by federal courts to resume full operations.

Grand Juries Carry on During Pandemic

Published onOctober 27, 2020

As the federal courts have gradually resumed operations with new pandemic-era health and safety rules in place, one aspect of the courts’ mission is on a fast track: the resumption of grand jury proceedings.

Courts Making Juror Safety a Top Priority

Published onSeptember 10, 2020

A small group of judges around the country have presided over jury trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number is growing as the backlog of criminal cases becomes an increasing concern among courts acutely aware that defendants are entitled to a fair, impartial, and timely trial. 

Federal Judges Reinventing the Jury Trial During Pandemic

Published onAugust 27, 2020

A group of federal judges around the country are reinventing the jury trial so that it is not only a fair forum for the administration of justice, but also a safe experience for everyone in the courtroom, including defendants and jurors.

As Courts Restore Operations, COVID-19 Creates a New Normal

Published onAugust 20, 2020

When coronavirus (COVID-19) cases spiked in March, court practices changed almost overnight, relying on virtual hearings that make it possible to conduct most court-related activities without coming to the building. Now, with courts seeking to restore in-person proceedings, one thing already is clear: Justice in a pandemic environment will have a very different look and feel.

Defenders Work to Ensure Due Process Amid Pandemic

Published onAugust 19, 2020

Of the many challenges that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has imposed on the ongoing operations of federal courts, some of the toughest are being faced by federal defenders, who are on the front lines working to overcome unprecedented threats to their clients’ safety and constitutional rights.

Judges, Lawyers Bring Life Skills to Virtual Classroom Activities for Home and School

Published onAugust 6, 2020

High school teachers can bring real-life civics into their virtual lessons when they invite federal judges and volunteer attorneys to facilitate a civil discourse and decision-making simulation with students at home or in the classroom this fall.

Some Courts Slow Reopening Plans as COVID Cases Rise

Published onJuly 16, 2020

At a time when some states are backtracking on plans to restore business and government operations, a number of federal courts also are slowing plans to reopen courthouse doors as coronavirus (COVID-19) case numbers escalate in many states.

Even During COVID, Courts Find Ways to Welcome New Americans

Published onJuly 7, 2020

When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first forced courthouses to limit access to the general public, one of the first events to be canceled was an especially joyous rite: the naturalization of new U.S. citizens.

Judge Testifies at House Hearing on Pandemic Impacts

Published onJune 25, 2020

Through a combination of advance planning, expanded use of technology, and the dedication of thousands of employees, the federal Judiciary’s response to the pandemic has enabled courts to continue to operate, while ensuring the health and safety of the public and court personnel, U.S. Senior District Judge David G. Campbell told Congress on Thursday.