Shuttered Mall Could Be Used for Jury Trials to Ease Pandemic Backlog

It was determined that Berkshire County courthouses could not be made safe during the coronavirus pandemic

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A shuttered Massachusetts mall is being considered as a site to hold jury trials when they resume early next year, officials say.

The state Trial Court’s Chief Justice Paula Carey in a letter to Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said The Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough is a possible location for trials.

“We have made some appreciable progress in identifying and obtaining space to conduct jury trials at the Berkshire Mall,” Carey wrote, according to a story Thursday in The Berkshire Eagle. “We are hopeful that together we can move the ball forward with respect to that location.”

The retail outlet just outside of Pittsfield shut down last year.

Two men were arrested for attacking the convicted murderer of their mother during a sentencing in a Youngstown, Ohio courtroom.

Jury trials have been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, but the state court system anounced a plan recently to resume six-person jury trials in January to deal with a massive statewide backlog, but only at sites that can be made safe.

It was determined that Berkshire County courthouses could not be made safe.

Harrington said the inability to try cases is delaying justice, while frustrating victims and defendants alike.

There is a backlog of more than 2,000 district court trials and almost 200 Superior Court trials in Berkshire County alone, she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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