August 10, 2020: Message from Chief Judge DiFiore

On August 10th, NYS Chief Judge Janet DiFiore stated in this video update that grand jury operations are resuming in NYC as scheduled and operations outside NYC safely and efficiently resumed a month ago. Plans are already in motion for the summoning and selection of jurors to serve on civil and criminal jury trials outside NYC. In-person bench trials begin today in NYC Housing Court on Staten Island in retrofitted courtrooms at the Richmond County Civil Court building. Preparations are under way for the start of in-person Housing Court bench trials in September in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx; Brooklyn Housing Court bench trials began last week.

The Commission to Reimagine the Future of NY’s Courts, led by former State Bar President Hank Greenberg, released its first report, which includes step-by-step guidance on creating customized court plans that prioritize public health and safety, including suggestions regarding access to courts; jury reporting and jury selection; among other key areas. The NYC Civil Court today launched a new initiative, employing the use of virtual mediation and trials for small claims matters to expedite the resolution of those cases. As of today, NYSCEF, the Courts’ e-filing program, is available to attorneys and unrepresented litigants in NYC Housing Court in Brooklyn. NYSCEF is already in use in Manhattan Housing Court and will be available in Bronx County’s Housing Court by mid-September, with plans under way for its expansion to both Queens and Staten Island.

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