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Judge Mattson holds first post-emergency jury trial Monday, July 6, 2020

On July 1-2, North Central Judicial District Judge Douglas Mattson held the first jury in the state since the declaration of an emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An attorney involved in the trial told the Minot Daily News that the trial process went “surprisingly smoothly.”

Carolyn Probst, the Trial Court Administrator for the North Central Judicial District noted the response by prospective jurors to their jury summons was very positive and the jury selection process went very well. A 28-person panel was called in for jury selection and their spacing in the courtroom was pre-planned to allow for social distancing.

The Minot Daily News reported that the jurors were spaced at least six feet apart and some were seated outside the jury box during the trial. Screens were put in place on the witness stand and by the judge to protect against potential spread of the virus. Masks were also made available.