Last week, the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania entered an order continuing all civil and criminal jury trials in this district until February 8, 2021.
Since March 12, 2020, this court has entered orders continuing trials until a further date, and a few days before each order was set to expire, it has been renewed. These orders have each recounted several pages of public health circumstances before finding that the circumstances demand delaying trial proceedings. This latest order, however, noted that in the past several weeks there have been “material, persistent and significant increased numerical occurrences and positivity rates of COVID-19 infections and accompanying hospitalizations in the counties which make up this judicial District.”
Grand juries are allowed to continue meeting, naturalizations ceremonies can be scheduled where necessary, and court operations can continue through in-person and remote proceedings. Notably, the order also provides for criminal defendants who want relief from the ordered delay to file a motion under a miscellaneous proceeding. No motions have been filed, to date, seeking a trial.