FORT MYERS — The Lee County Clerk of Courts was recently selected to participate in a pilot program to evaluate how to conduct civil jury trials remotely.
The initiative, according to a statement, is designed to help reduce jurors’ exposure to COVID-19 while serving.
There are five different methods of remote jury trials being tested across Florida to help the Courts determine what works best, the release adds. In Lee County prospective jurors will receive a traditional jury summons and will report in person to a location outside the courthouse for the selection process on June 29, June 30 and July 2. If selected, they will receive instructions on how to log into the trial via Zoom, a video conferencing program.
“Access to justice starts with our jurors,” Lee County Clerk of Court Linda Doggett says in the release. “To ensure the judicial process runs smoothly, we’ve taken several measures to protect their health and well-being throughout their service. Our goal is to keep our jurors safe.”
When entering the courthouse, jurors and courthouse visitors must wear masks, have their temperatures checked and stay six feet from others. Commons areas, including the jury assembly room and restrooms, are also frequently deep cleaned, the release states.
To participate in the pilot program, the plaintiff and defendant must agree to conduct the trial remotely.
Criminal cases are not being considered for the trial pilot program, the release states, since they typically involve more complex issues of constitutional rights.