UPDATE ON TEXAS JURY TRIALS
On January 14, 2021, the Supreme Court of Texas issued its 33rd Emergency Order generally authorizing postponement of in-person jury trials and pre-trial deadlines through April 1, 2021, and requiring all courts to use reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings remotely. While the order continues to grant latitude to most individual courts to determine what safety measures are adequate to allow normal business, including jury trials, to proceed, recent weeks have seen additional courts in major cities announce that no in-person jury trials will be attempted in the immediate future.
Meanwhile, some federal courts in Texas have also extended similar measures. Federal courts in Houston and most of the rest of the Southern District have postponed their plan to resume jury trials until March 15, 2021. The Western District has also postponed all jury trials, but only until February 28, 2021. The Eastern District is currently allowing criminal proceedings to be conducted remotely until April 30, 2021, but has issued no new guidance on civil proceedings. The Northern District has not issued any new guidance since its last order in November 2020 postponing all trials to a date after January 1, 2021.