On November 2, NYS Chief Judge Janet DiFiore provided this video update to report on the continuing status of the jury pilot, which recently began in New York City, joining the rest of the state. She reported that the Unified Court System has received positive feedback regarding its preparation and safety protocols, and will continue to monitor daily COVID-19 metrics across the state. Chief Judge DiFiore notes that the court system is prepared to make immediate adjustments to scale back or suspend jury trials and in-person proceedings to protect judges, court staff, attorneys, and court users.
While in-person proceedings continue to be phased in, virtual improvements, including the expansion of e-filing in civil cases upstate, continue to be made. The Chief Judge states that by November 18, 60 of the State’s 62 counties will have e-filing in the Supreme Court, and 47 counties will have e-filing in the Surrogate’s Court.
Chief Judge DiFiore also addressed the topic of racial justice and a zero tolerance policy for bias in the court system. She noted that Deputy Chief Administrative Judge Edwina. G. Mendelson has been appointed and empowered to lead the court’s efforts to put the recommendations set forth by Jeh C. Johnson into action. She highlights the work of important organizations within the court and states that the court system will do better to maintain access to justice and ensure equal justice under the law.