Criminal jury trials set to resume in Allegheny County

PITTSBURGH — COVID-19 has drastically impacted everything, including how the courts operate in downtown Pittsburgh.

Starting Monday, criminal jury trials resume, and health officials said all of the necessary protections will be in place.

President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark told our news partners at TribLive.com that “we need to move forward” with the process.

She attributed this to vaccinations increasing and case counts dropping.

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Trials will take place in two big courtrooms at the city-county building and courthouse.

Channel 11′s legal expert, Phil DiLucente, said everyone has a right to a speedy trial and keeping someone behind bars for longer only puts them at a higher risk.

“This is really, really a breath of good, fresh new and air. And with open arms, we are taking this because it’s very hard to explain to your client that matters are continually being postponed,” DiLucente said.

Face masks, sanitizing and social distancing will be a huge part of court proceedings.

As for a backlog of cases, Clark said it’s not as high as expected because judges were able to take pleas and handle matters through video conferences.