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Civil, criminal jury trials are set to resume in New Mexico

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — As New Mexico takes steps toward "re-opening" during the coronavirus pandemic, courts across the state are preparing for jury trials to resume.

The New Mexico Supreme Court issued an order on May 28 that lifted the suspension on jury trials for civil and criminal cases, allowing trials to resume between June 15 and July 15, according to a New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts press release.

The state Supreme Court on March 17 suspended criminal jury trials for magistrate, metropolitan and district courts due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

Chief judges in each judicial district are required to submit plans that illustrate what precautions and operating procedures will be implemented for the courts.

Some of the steps could include the use of plexiglass and other protective barriers in a courthouse and implementing social distancing measures in a courtroom.

New safety protocols were enacted for the Eleventh Judicial District and Magistrate Courts in San Juan and McKinley on April 23 after an employee in San Juan County tested positive for the coronavirus, according to The Daily Times archives.

Some of those protocols included defendants attending hearings remotely through video conferencing or telephone and those entering a courthouse are required to answer coronavirus-related questions before being allowed inside.

The courts also required masks or protective face coverings for anyone entering a courthouse along with performing temperature checks and frequent cleaning and disinfecting in facilities.

The state Supreme Court also issued an order which will give those with court fees and fines due between May 30 and June 30 an additional 30 days to make their payment.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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