Wednesday, 13 May 2020 16:55

Courts Remain Limited, But Grand Jury Sessions May Resume Next Week

May 13, 2020 – While criminal cases involving out-of-custody defendants will not be heard before June 1, Shelby County grand juries could begin meeting again as early as next week, said Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Amy Weirich.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has sharply limited courtroom activity across the state for the past two months, citing health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-1) pandemic.
In-custody cases have been given top priority in General Sessions and Criminal Courts, while cases with out-of-custody defendants are being reset. There also have been no jury trials under the restrictions that will remain in place for at least another two weeks.
The three Shelby County grand juries have been idle as well, missing 25 sessions since March. The grand juries normally meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and DA Weirich said plans are in place for that schedule to resume next week.
She said citizens will be seated for each grand jury on Monday May 18, and cases will be heard starting the next day with social distancing and other health precautions in place. Prospective jurors are encouraged to bring face masks as well.
Witnesses will appear electronically rather than in-person. DA Weirich said cases presented to the grand jury will be the most serious felonies and will involve defendants who have been in jail the longest.