Virginia Supreme Court Again Extends Covid-19 Related Judicial Emergency
On July 28, 2020, the Virginia Supreme Court entered its Eighth Order Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency in Response to Covid-19 Emergency, which extends the current declaration of judicial emergency through August 30, 2020. Jury trials remain suspended within the Commonwealth of Virginia; however, statutes of limitations and other “case-related” deadlines remain unaffected after the Virginia Supreme Court ceased tolling of those deadlines on July 20, 2020. Deadlines contained in the Speedy Trial Act will continue to toll under the Eighth Order.
Currently, the Chief Circuit Judges of Virginia are drafting plans proposing how to safely restart jury trials within their respective jurisdictions, which must be submitted to the Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court on or before August 17, 2020, pursuant to the Sixth Order Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency in Response to Covid-19 Emergency. Once submitted, a panel of three Virginia Supreme Court Justices will review the plan in consultation with the Office of the Executive Secretary. Jury trials will not resume unless and until the plan applicable to the locality has been approved by the panel.
It is currently unclear exactly how long the review process will take place once the proposed plans are submitted, which means the exact timing of when jury trials will resume in the Commonwealth of Virginia is currently unknown. For now, Virginia litigants and litigators wait like the rest of society for some semblance of normalcy to return.
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