Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic says it's time to resume jury trials but judges in Yakima County Superior Court say that won't happen until September 1. The court hasn't seen a jury trial since March when the Yakima County Courthouse was closed to the public because of COVID-19. Brusic says there's a backlog of hundreds of criminal trials that need to move forward but they're just sitting idle because no jury trials are being scheduled. Defense attorneys say they can't contact clients if there's no pressure from the court system to resolve a case. Brusic is meeting with judges telling them things must move forward and to do that jury trials need to be scheduled in the future under strict COVID-19 guidelines.
In King County jury trials are being held in a large event center to help create social distancing. Jurors will no longer report for jury duty as a group. Individual jurors will be questioned online and jury selection is done by video conference. Brusic says some of the same measures could be implemented in Yakima County.