Commission to Reimagine the Future of NY State Courts Issues Recommendations for Court Proceedings

August 7, 2020

The Commission to Reimagine the Future of New York’s Courts issued a report on August 5 outlining recommended plans and goals for restarting in-person court proceedings, including grand juries and jury trials. The report—“Goals and Checklist for Restarting In-Person Grand Juries, Jury Trials and Related Proceedings”—also provided short-term recommendations as the courts resume in-person operations amid the Covid-19 crisis.

S&C partner Litigation partner Robert Giuffra co-led the working group focused on trials that produced this report, along with Court of Appeals Associate Judge Michael J. Garcia. S&C Litigation partner Andrew Finn was the principal drafter of this report. The Commission is chaired by former New York State Bar Association President Henry M. Greenberg.

The report includes guidance on how to create customized court plans, based on local conditions, that prioritize public health and safety. The report also contains a checklist on restarting trials, courthouse and courtroom access, and jury reporting and selection.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore appointed the Commission in mid-June and it consists of six working groups: trials; appellate practice; online courts; regulatory innovations; structural innovations; and technology.

“The recommendations outlined in today’s report are an excellent starting point for New York’s judges, court administrators and relevant stakeholders to consider as the Court System works to safely re-establish in-person operations,” said Chief Judge DiFiore. “I am pleased by the Commission’s efforts to date and look forward to its long-range proposals as we strive to deliver quality justice services to New Yorkers in today’s rapidly evolving society.”