Jury Trials To Resume In October, Allegheny Co. Shuffling Spaces To Avoid Close Proximity

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Jury trials will be resuming on Oct. 19, and some of them will be taking place in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

It’s been six months without a jury trial in Allegheny County, but plans to restart while keeping people safe are now in motion.

The Fifth Judician District of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday jury selection and civil jury trials will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The convention center has been secured for jury selection through Dec. 2020.

There’s a $628,000 contract with the Sports and Exhibition Authority that will be covered with CARES Act funds.

Meanwhile, criminal trials, which require tighter security, will be held in the Gold Room and courtroom 313 in the Allegheny County Courthouse and in courtroom 700 in the City-County Building. With the approval of the sheriff and administrative judge, some criminal jury trials and minor matters might take place in the convention center.

Safety measures include security screening, temperature checks, screening questions, physical distancing, face coverings and hand sanitizer stations.

“The right to a trial by jury is one of the fundamental rights of U.S. citizenship, but due to the pandemic, there has not been a jury trial held in Allegheny County for the last six months,” said President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark in a statement.

“During this time, defendants who are being held in jail, as well as victims and their families, have been waiting for a just resolution of their cases. We must begin to bring resolution and closure to these cases in the safest manner possible.”

These sites will accommodate long-delayed trials, like that of Christian Bey, who was charged with criminal homicide in the death of Pittsburgh police officer Calvin Hall.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.