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Federal civil trial resumes after disinfection, juror's COVID-19 test results pending

Posted at 4:40 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 19:48:24-04

PHOENIX — A federal trial in Phoenix will continue despite a juror falling ill and being tested for coronavirus.

The juror called Monday afternoon saying he went to an emergency room and is awaiting COVID-19 test results, according to acting Court Clerk Debra Lucas.

The ill juror was part of the trial when it started last week, but all jurors had a four day weekend before re-convening Tuesday.

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The jury box and jury room were sanitized overnight, and more disinfecting will occur Tuesday night, Lucas said. The court has also implemented "social distancing" in the jury box.

Judge Neil Wake talked to the attorneys and remaining jurors Tuesday morning prior to deciding to continue the civil trial. the case, Keates v. Koile, involves allegations of medical kidnapping. Arizona child protective services workers are accused of constitutional violations for removing a child from the mother's custody after a hospitalization.

Both federal and state courts have decided to suspend new jury trials due to the public health crisis. Lucas said no federal jury trials will start before April 10, but existing jury trials will continue.

New jury selection for all courts, including the grand jury, in Maricopa County has been suspended from March 16 through March 31, according to an announcement on the Maricopa County Superior Court website.