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Lynchburg jury trials approved by state, but delayed

Lynchburg jury trials approved by state, but delayed

Lynchburg Circuit Court was approved last week to resume jury trials, but the city is among several localities opting to hold off a while longer because of the sustained spread of COVID-19.

Other courts in the 24th Judicial Circuit — those in Amherst, Bedford, Campbell and Nelson counties — had their jury trial plans approved by the Virginia Supreme Court in mid-December.

Despite that, judges in all but one of those localities signed orders in the past few weeks that will postpone those jury trials through February, citing record-high numbers of new COVID-19 cases per day.

Amherst Circuit Judge Michael Garrett has signed an order postponing jury trials through Jan. 31 and no order further extending that date was posted at the court by Monday.

Health officials have reported record hospitalization numbers within the past month and said they expect another wave of patients in coming weeks, following increased community spread around Christmas and New Year’s. Each locality has seen more new COVID-19 cases per day in January than ever before.

Appomattox Circuit Court is within the 11th Judicial Circuit and saw its jury trial plan approved in December as well. Clerk Janet Hix said the first jury trial there is scheduled for Feb. 3 and she anticipates it’ll move forward as planned.

“This is going to be a learning experience for us all,” she said.

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