In a short videoconferencing meeting on Friday, Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack responded to five public comments the high court had received about an interim rule petition temporarily suspending jury trials in non-criminal matters.
The high court held a public rules hearing on Friday about interim rule petition 20-02, which temporarily suspends statutory deadlines for jury trials in non-criminal matters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state Supreme Court approved the interim rule at a closed administrative conference on March 27. It went into effect on the same day and remains in place until further order of the court.
Roggensack said the court received five comments and no questions about the interim rule. The Wisconsin Clerks of Circuit Court Association supported the rule, and several circuit court judges sent a letter urging the state Supreme Court to give circuit courts authority to decide whether to conduct in-person hearings and trials.
One citizen objected to the rule’s indefinite time frame, and Roggensack said the court information officer also received a number of questions about how long the suspension would last. She said the recently established Wisconsin Courts COVID-19 Task Force is working to create a framework of criteria to ensure safety when courts resume jury trials and in-person proceedings.
“I am very hopeful we’ll make good progress, but it remains to be seen because we’ve just gotten off the ground,” Roggensack said.
The task force has meeting scheduled for Monday. A link to the livestreamed meeting will be posted on the Wisconsin Court System website.Follow @WLJReporter