Harris County Starts Seating Grand Juries Again

Trials in Harris County have been put on hold during the pandemic but beginning today things will crank back up with a twist.

Jury selection is taking place at NRG Arena. The parking is free, and District Clerk Marilyn Burgess says all safety precautions are being considered. “There will be temperature checks as they drive into the parking lot,” she says. “Once they get inside the building masks will be required of all staff and prospective jurors. We have provided hand sanitizer throughout the facility.” The moved to NRG Arena in order to afford the ability to keep jurors at least six feet apart. Gloves are provided for computer check in.If a prospective juror has special circumstances that need to be considered they can do that by Zoom or phone call with the presiding regional judge.

According to the District Clerk’s office: “For now, NRG Arena will only be used for Grand Jury trial selection as the Texas Supreme Court has decided there will be no jury trials before August, with exceptions allowed by regional judges. The approved exceptions include calling for Grand Juries for five District Courts and for the Arkema trial. The Arkema trial is tentatively scheduled to resume at NRG Arena on July 13.”

They are looking for 500 prospective jurors to run through vior dire process, the preliminary screening. They’ll whittle it down to 16 individuals, 12 to sit as active jurors in the grand jury hearing and four alternates, who will receive further instructions on when and where to report for duty.

The office says they anticipate high call volume with questions so they’ll have additional employees available to take calls.

photo courtesy of getty images

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