On October 5, NYS Chief Judge Janet DiFiore released this video update to provide continued developments to the State’s jury trial pilot. She specifically discusses how relieved New Yorkers who show up for jury service feel with the health and safety precautions taken in the courthouses, including social distancing and wearing masks. Chief Judge DiFiore highlighted the caution used in decisions related to incremental resumption of in-person proceedings.
Chief Judge DiFiore also discussed the adoption of a new “Uniform Case Scheduling Order” for all civil cases brought against New York City. This order will provide for greater consistency in civil litigation and more efficient case management.
Following up on last week’s update to address the digital divide, the Chief Judge described the new “Faith Based Court Access Initiative,” which is piloted in Westchester County. This initiative, with five initial sites, provides remote access in houses of worship, including high speed Wi-Fi, computers, videoconferencing capabilities, scanners, and printers.
In addition to further address the digital divide, virtual kiosks are installed near the entrances of county courthouses for self-represented litigants. Chief Judge DiFiore notes that there litigants can participate in virtual court proceedings and receive live videoconference assistance from court personnel. In other counties, in-person help centers have become virtual help centers.
Chief Judge DiFiore ends her update to provide more information about the court system’s budget, highlighting some of the difficult decisions that have been made to save costs. She states that it has been difficult to lose a group of qualified public servants during the pandemic, but reflects on the spirit of unity that has carried the court family in the court system’s response.