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As Fairbanks COVID-19 cases rise, court once again suspends trials, grand jury

As Fairbanks experiences a rise in COVID-19 Cases, the court system has once again suspended...
As Fairbanks experiences a rise in COVID-19 Cases, the court system has once again suspended in-person grand jury and jury trials for Fairbanks.(John Dougherty/KTVF)
Published: May. 1, 2021 at 5:03 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - As Fairbanks experiences a rise in COVID-19 cases, the court system has once again suspended in-person grand jury and jury trials for Fairbanks. A pair of administrative orders from Presiding Judge Terrence Haas says that the 14 day case rate of 47.05 per 100,000 residents made it unsafe to conduct in person grand jury and in person jury trials.

The first order suspends grand jury in Fairbanks through May 31 of this year. A second order suspended in-person jury trials in Fairbanks, Delta Junction and Tok through May 14th. Jury Trials that had already begun will be allowed to continue to a verdict.

The order said that jury trials may still be conducted in Fairbanks before May 14 if the trial judge requests and the presiding judge allows it.

Judge Haas spoke to us previously about how they determine when to suspend trials.

“If at some point it becomes clear from an epidemiological standpoint that we can’t do things safely then we will pull things back. As it becomes clear that we can do things safely we will move forward,” Haas said.

Haas said that he would never issue an order he felt violated the constitution, but that they need to balance safety with people’s rights. He said that anyone can request a trial if they feel their rights are being violated.

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