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From the States

  • The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that state court jury verdicts must be unanimous for serious crimes. A single juror could prevent conviction in 48 states, but laws in Louisiana and Oregon had allowed 10-2 verdicts.
  • Courts in some states, including Michigan, Montana and Pennsylvania, are developing plans to reopen or restore some normal operations.
  • Recent enactments addressing justice responses to COVID-19:
    • Kansas SB 102: Authorizes the chief justice to issue an order (1) authorizing the use of video conferencing for court proceedings or (2) extending or suspending statutory deadlines, including speedy trial.
    • Kentucky HB 356: Authorizes the chief justice during the duration of the governor’s declaration of emergency to declare a judicial emergency to protect court employees, officials and the public. Specifies that judicial emergencies shall extend statutory timelines and statutes of limitation.
    • North Carolina SB 704: Provides exemptions to mask prohibitions. Requires removal of masks worn for physical health upon the request of law enforcement in certain circumstances.
    • Ohio HB 197: Tolls for a specified time the criminal statute of limitations and other deadlines related to indictment, grand juries, speedy trial, commitment hearings, bench warrants, discovery and any other criminal time limitations or deadlines.
    • Vermont SB 114: Modifies rules about a defendant’s physical presence and suspends statutory time frames for certain court proceedings.

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