Jury trials to resume in New Mexico, payment deadline extended

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Jury trials in criminal and civil cases will resume in New Mexico beginning next month.

An order issued by the Supreme Court has lifted the suspension on jury trials in criminal and civil cases and will allow for cases to resume between June 15 and July 15.

 “As our state gradually reopens, courts can safely resume jury trials as local conditions permit,” said Chief Justice Judith K. Nakamura. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, New Mexico courts have worked diligently to protect the health of people entering a courthouse. In resuming jury trials, our courts will rigorously follow COVID-safe practices developed by public health authorities.”

The Court also issued an order that will add 30 days to the payment deadline imposed by a magistrate, metropolitan, district or municipal court for fines and fees due between May 30 and June 30, 2020.  People with questions about their payment deadline are encouraged to contact the court that imposed the penalties.

According to a release, before courts can recommence jury trials, the chief judge in the judicial district must submit individualized plans for Supreme Court approval that detail the operating procedures and precautions implemented for courts in that district.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, courts have implemented safety measures recommended by the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. These include:

  • Requiring masks and protective face coverings for anyone entering a court building.
  • Health screening of courthouse visitors, including temperature checks, to determine whether they exhibit possible coronavirus symptoms.
  • Limiting the number of people in locations throughout a courthouse to ensure proper social distancing.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting in judicial buildings, especially high-touch surfaces such as doors, tables, counters, and courthouse seating.

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