Cole County jury trials are being suspended for two weeks due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the county and the increased communicability of the omicron variant, court officials announced Friday.
Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem said all scheduled jury trials for the next two weeks will be continued. The next day jury trials are now scheduled for Jan. 31.
Beetem said priority will be given to in-custody criminal defendants.
To reduce traffic in the courthouse, Beetem also announced they will increase their use of video for proceedings.
Litigants and their attorneys may check their case on the state's judicial website, CASENET, for specific video instructions or links to virtual hearing rooms.
Court forms are available on the court's website (colecounty.org) as well as in the entry area of the courthouse. They can be completed and returned to the drop box at the security station when you enter the courthouse. These forms should include telephone numbers where litigants may be contacted if there are any questions about information they give to the courts.
The circuit clerk's office will also accept filings by fax and/or email from litigants who do not have legal representation during the COVID-19 surge.
Beetem reminded the public the mask requirement to enter the courthouse is still in effect.
People should not come to court if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days, have been instructed to quarantine, or have cold or flu like symptoms, he said.
"The courts are making every effort to avoid shutting down during this COVID upsurge," Beetem wrote in the Friday afternoon news release.