A vaccine is on the way, but jury trials are not—at least not in many places. Yesterday Indiana suspended all jury trials in the state until March. North Carolina froze nearly all in-person court proceedings through at least January 14, 2021. The Western District of New York halted all jury trials at least through February 24. (The Western District includes Buffalo and Rochester.)
The Western District’s order, like many closure orders, also applies to grand jury proceedings. But not all grand juries are shut down. Last week a grand jury in the Southern District of California returned an indictment of a physician for crimes arising from his business venture selling COVID-19 “treatment kits,” which he advertised to one potential customer as a “miracle cure.” The defendant is a licensed physician and the former operator of Skinny Beach Med Spas in and around San Diego. According to the DOJ press release, the defendant agreed with a Chinese supplier to smuggle hydroxychloroquine powder into the U.S., lying to U.S. Customs by mislabeling a shipment as “yam extract.” The defendant is also charged with stealing the name and identifying information of one of his employees in order to create and submit a bogus prescription for hydroxychloroquine on the employee’s behalf, in order to sell the drugs at a markup to his customers.
Why cover a grand jury indictment on a trial blog? It’s what’s happening. Trials are not.