Jury Trials Resume Across Iowa Monday

DES MOINES, Iowa - Jury trials begin today across Iowa, after being paused since the state's first cases of COVID-19 were reported in March.

Face coverings will be required in District Judge Michael Huppert's courtroom at the Polk County Courthouse.

The judge and witnesses will wear clear face shields so their verbal cues can be picked up. The gallery area of the courtroom is mostly blocked off by yellow and black crime tape, and the public will watch remotely from other rooms.

Courts are starting trials only two weeks after Iowa had the highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the nation. The New York Times now lists Iowa as one of six states where cases are higher, but going down.

Jails have had issues with the virus since it arrived. A COVID-19 outbreak at the Polk County Jail peaked June 1 at 127 inmates.

Two in-person jury trials were allowed to start last month in Scott and Muscatine counties as a pilot to beginning normal court operations.

Polk County Courthouse was in use Friday when Des Moines Public Schools and the state made arguments in the district's lawsuit to hold online classes.

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