New Mexico Supreme Court suspends criminal jury trials as Coronavirus precaution

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The State Supreme Court has suspended criminal jury trials that haven’t already begun to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

They’ve also imposed new measures like suspending a lawyer’s ability to excuse a judge from presiding over a case and other rules, encouraging judges to do arraignments and plea proceedings by phone or video and requiring screening at courthouses.

“The precautionary measures imposed by the Judiciary today will provide additional safeguards for all New Mexicans while allowing necessary court functions to continue,” Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura said in a press release. “Especially during a public health emergency, courts must not close because they deliver vital services required in our justice system to ensure community safety.”

Judges do have the discretion to proceed with a trial if there is an exceptional circumstance. The suspension will last through April 30.

New Mexico’s appellate, district, metropolitan and magistrate courts remain open.

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