During the first week of May, I appointed an Ad Hoc Committee To Recommence Jury Trials in the District of Nebraska. It is anticipated that jury trials will recommence in Nebraska federal courts on, or shortly after, July 6, 2020. Even though jury trials will recommence . . . based on the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, our trials will necessarily be conducted with all public health concerns in mind. The Committee was made up of judges, criminal and civil practitioners, and representatives of the clerk’s office jury team. The charge to the Committee was to study and make recommendations to the District Court, consistent with the best medical evidence and other external and internal advice, as to how to begin conducting jury trials in a safe and secure manner during the course of the pandemic.
The attached report contains the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee. The recommendations are comprehensive, well thought out, and I want to express my gratitude to the hard and efficient work of the Committee. Of course, these recommendations are the first piece to an ongoing project . . . the provision of justice is always an ongoing work in process. So, we welcome all comments and suggestions as we implement the commencement of trials once again in the District of Nebraska. Someday we will return to business as usual, but not for the next several months. During that time period, all of the judges and Committee members ask for a spirit of cooperation and request helpful suggestions as trials progress. Thank you!
John M. Gerrard
Chief U.S. District Judge
District of Nebraska
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