On July 8, 2020, Attorney Tory Bernsen helped her client obtain an acquittal in the first trial in federal court in Cape Girardeau after jury trials had been shut down for the past three months. Her client was accused of attempting to escape from the Cape Girardeau County jail.
Attorney Bernsen said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“It was not perfect, but it was pretty good. We did everything as quickly as possible to get everything done in a day. The court did a wonderful job, but I could only see one juror from my seat at counsel table because they were spread out all over the courtroom.”
In order to conduct a jury trial during the COVID-19 pandemic, parties involved in the case must agree to a trial. Tory said her client was “fully on board.”
She also mentioned how defense attorneys are divided about holding trial during this time. Some of them are worried about how judges set their rules.
In order to protect everyone involved during a trial, courtrooms throughout Missouri have installed plexiglass panels in various locations, such as the judge’s bench, witness box, attorneys’ tables, to prevent and minimize the possible spread of the coronavirus.
Regarding jury selection, prospective jurors are given questionnaires that include COVID-related questions. Once jurors are selected, they are spaced out throughout the courtroom, as opposed to being assigned to a jury room.
On behalf of our legal team at Muhlenkamp & Bernsen, we would like to congratulate Tory on her victory in federal court. She specializes in DWI, criminal defense, and appellate matters in St. Louis.
If you or a loved one are facing state or federal charges in St. Louis or within the surrounding area, contact us today at (314) 347-3313 and schedule a free consultation.