Jackson County Circuit Court adapts to COVID-19 restrictions

MEDFORD, Ore. – Jackson County Circuit Court has made several changes to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.

Two courtrooms are used for trials in order to maintain social distancing. Courtrooms can normally accommodate up to 60 people, but are now limited to 25.

The rooms are also cleaned between sessions.

Elevators in the building are limited to two people at a time. They also contain a hand sanitizer that people can use.

Signage is posted throughout the building to remind people of social distancing.

Judge Tim Gerking told NewsWatch 12 that some of these changes can be difficult because managing multiple parties, lawyers and staff in a courtroom is not possible during a pandemic.

“We racked our brains trying to figure out what to do, and we decided we had to go offsite to try these cases,” Gerking said.

He says they will use the old central high school building to process large lawsuits.

“This pandemic has really created problems for us, but we have found ways to overcome these obstacles so that access to justice is provided to the citizens of this county,” said Gerking.

“People have the right to be tried in their criminal cases and they have a number of constitutional rights that would allow them to meaningfully meet with their defense attorney, so whether this can be done over the phone or in person is something. thing they determine, ”Judge Laura Cromwell said.

Cromwell says anyone who shows up in court must wear a mask. People should also be prepared for longer wait times throughout the role.

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