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Communities and governments have begun phased reopening, and courts now must make tough decisions based on individual circumstances — some may be conducting in-person jury trials, while for others, particularly those with limited space for social distancing, this may not be impossible for several months. These challenges may force a new “hybrid” approach that uses both courtrooms and teleconferencing, as Judge Emily Miskel noted after she helped lead the first remote jury proceeding in Texas.
On the upside, however, this crisis has largely intensified problems that courts were already facing, so some empirical research already exists. Where there are gaps in the research, organizations like ours, the American Law Institute, National Center for State Courts, etc., are turning to other judges, experts, and scholars for guidance. As Justice Bridget Mary McCormack said, “This is not necessarily the disruption we wanted, but I think it’s the disruption we needed.”
Below you will find links to resources, organized by topic. Have a suggestion or something to add? Email us at email@example.com.
Courts’ Responses to the Covid-19 Crisis (brennancenter.org)
The Brennan Center is compiling the formal policy responses of federal courts, immigration courts, and state courts to the Covid-19 public health crisis. This resource includes a database of orders for SCOTUS, federal district and circuit courts, and state supreme courts.
Pandemic resources for courts (ncsc.org)
The CCJ-COSCA Rapid Response Team (RRT) has a webpage on the National Center for State Courts with many resources to assist state courts during the pandemic. The webpage features filtering options, such as resource type, court management, and case types/jurisdiction.