Jury Trials To Resume In February Under Supreme Court Order


The Supreme Court issued an order Monday allowing civil and criminal jury trials to resume in February 2021.

The Court last month suspended jury trials – but not grand juries – as a public health precaution to help control the spread of COVID-19 when new cases of the virus were spiking in New Mexico.

Under the Court’s latest order, courts can resume trials with jurors in February.

“The Supreme Court and its Emergency Response Team constantly monitors public health conditions and will continue to take every step necessary to ensure courts safeguard New Mexicans needing access to the justice system,” said Chief Justice Michael E. Vigil.

“The right to a jury trial is a fundamental part of our democracy and we greatly appreciate the willingness of New Mexicans to carry out their civic duty as jurors,” said Chief Justice Vigil.

Throughout the pandemic, New Mexico courts have remained open and judges have conducted non-jury trials and other civil and criminal proceedings through video and telephone conferencing.

Today’s order by the Supreme Court also restores the ability of lawyers to excuse a judge from presiding over criminal and civil cases in cases filed on or after Jan. 1, 2021. The peremptory excusal rules were suspended in March to allow courts to better manage their caseloads during the COVID-19 pandemic by distributing cases among all available judges.