Jackson County Court adjusts to pandemic restrictions

MEDFORD, Ore. — Jackson County Court is adjusting to Governor Kate Brown’s statewide mask mandate with new social distancing and mask requirements.

Anyone who enters the courthouse or courtroom, like all public indoors spaces, have to wear facial coverings.

Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia says there is now plexi glass between the judge’s booth, witness stand, and court clerk and recorders.

He issued an order that allows people to take off their masks when testifying and says a judge can also order someone else to take off a mask for the purposes of clarity for the record.

“We haven’t had any problems yet but we’re at the half day of the first day and we’re asking judges to certainly be examples for the public,” said Judge Mejia.

Judge Mejia says jurors will be separated around the courtroom and everything will be cleaned on a daily basis.

As they learn to adjust, he suspects this could make trials slower than usual.

If a trial is more than a week long with a large jury pool, audience, and more, Judge Mejia says they may use a different venue like the Jackson County Expo to ensure social distancing.

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