BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission has approved an order to permit the Upshur County Circuit Court to use the Event Center at Brushy Fork for jury selection, starting in August.
The commission approved allowing jury selection to occur at the event center during the Thursday, Aug. 6 commission meeting to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 and maintain physical distancing measures.
“Because of the mandate that we’re supposed to maintain social distancing of six feet, we thought it was more practical to try to have a jury selection, with that many jurors, at the Brushy Fork Center because it was large enough to accommodate us,” 26th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jacob Reger said. “Judge (Kurt) Hall and I thought it would make it less complicated.”
There was no specific date given when jury selections may occur, but they may begin as early as this month.
“The commission approved it for August, September, October, November and December of this year, so I don’t know if [26th Judicial Circuit Court] Judge Hall is going to have to select juries in August or not, but if he needs to, he can,” Reger said. “If we could do it in the courtroom, we would, but with the jury selection process, sometimes you need about 60 people, and we just can’t do that in the courtroom.”
He said there will be security at the event center, just as there is at the courthouse.
“The Supreme Court ordered that we not have any jury trials, up until June 30, so we couldn’t between about March 15 and June 30 based upon the Supreme Court’s directive, so now we can, and we’ve responded accordingly,” Reger said. “We’ve had grand jury proceedings here in the courtroom, we’ve had all types of civil and criminal proceedings in the courtroom, and we’ve used video cameras or video to have some of the hearings, but some of the hearings are required to be here.”