The Sugar Land Municipal Court is opening its doors up for in-person jury trials for the first time in over a year on June 29.
Jury proceedings have been on hold since March 12, 2020, due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a backlog of cases to flood the Municipal Court’s docket.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we had a slight backlog, but that’s only grown,” Sugar Land Municipal Court Administrator Kendra Beverly said. “The backlog continues to grow, but we haven’t been able to hold jury proceedings due to the virus and social distancing requirements.”
While the Sugar Land Municipal Court is open for remote court proceedings, in-person jury trials will be held at the City Hall Annex due to social distancing guidelines and space restrictions at the Municipal Court.
“Having jury proceedings at the City Hall Annex allows us the space and flexibility we need to continue the normal business of the court,” Beverly said.
Temperature screenings are required for all visitors and employees when they first arrive. Staff will be cleaning between proceedings and docket sizes will be limited in order to ensure jurors remain safe and healthy. Masks and social distancing will also be required at all times. Jurors will have assigned seating for the duration of their service.
The Municipal Court handles mostly Class C misdemeanors, which includes traffic cases, public intoxication, assault, and theft cases. Sugar Land residents will start receiving court summons by mail for in-person jury service the week of May 17.