Santa Clara County Superior Court Resumes Jury Trials, Extends $0 Bail Order

Just as it announced it would extend its zero-dollar emergency bail schedule, Santa Clara County Superior Court confirmed that it’s now set to resume jury trials.

Due to the pandemic, the court has instituted a number of social distancing protocols. Anyone entering the court must wear a face covering, maintain a six-foot distance from others, should not shake hands and should follow the markings on the floors to ensure proper distance is maintained in the courtroom.

“Jury service is the cornerstone of our democracy and one of our county and court’s greatest assets,” Presiding Judge Deborah A. Ryan said in a press release Thursday. “Behind every jury trial are numerous citizens who have given their time and energy to further justice in Santa Clara County. As jurors are summoned back to court and trials resume, the court has implemented the highest levels of safety precautions and social distancing protocols in an effort to keep our community safe and healthy.”

(Photo courtesy of Santa Clara County Superior Court)

Plexiglass dividers have been installed in courtrooms and jury deliberation will occur in spaces that can accommodate social distancing protocols.

The court has also increased cleaning throughout the courthouse, which includes wiping down elevators, button panels, door handles and other high-touch areas.

Hand sanitizer, sanitation wipes, gloves and masks will be available at the entrance for those entering the court.

On Thursday, Ryan also issued an interim order to extend the emergency bail schedule. Effective June 20, bail for misdemeanor and felony offenses will be set at $0 except in certain circumstances outlined in the interim order.

Earlier this week, court officials announced that the clerk’s offices at the Hall of Justice and the Family Justice Center reopened for in-person business. The civil and traffic court clerk’s offices are set to reopen for in-person services on June 29.

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

5 Comments

  1. Is anyone keeping track of how many people realeased on $0 bail are reoffending and how many fail to show up for their court appearances? I’m sure it would offend the anti-cop, pro-criminal sensibilities of SJI staff to do such a thing. But Look on the positive side Jenn and SJI staff. If cash bail is really the anachronistic and unfair policy that deprives poor people of their rights wrongfully and unnecessarily, a low percentage of reoffenders and a high percentage of court appearance would support your argument. Personally, I’d rather you be right on this issue; but I remain skeptical.
    Thank you in advance for keeping us posted, Jenn.

    • > s anyone keeping track of how many people realeased on $0 bail are reoffending and how many fail to show up for their court appearances?

      In all likelihood, the perps who are released without bail disproportionately live in low income areas and prey upon people and businesses where they live.

      Yet another example of the caring, helpful, do-gooders making things WORSE for the most economically and socially stressed people in the community.

      • If they were to keep track ( they aren’t) they wouldn’t release it. Just like criminals on probation continue to commit crimes with no repercussions. Are they keeping track of those numbers? Nope. People need to vote for better judges. Oh well good luck to the victims.

        • Judges aren’t the entire issue. Sentencing ranges are set by the legislature and signed by the governor. Most crimes now have three sentencing choices for the judge. Even a “hanging judge” cannot sentence a convicted person for a period longer than the maximum “prescribed by law”, no matter how heinous the crime or how many prior convictions the defendant had.
          Bail is another issue. It is within the exclusive and virtually unfettered discretion of the judge.
          Then there are parole boards, who are too easily conned into letting out career criminals yet again.
          Very few innocent people are arrested, let alone convicted in California. However, a lot of guilty people are acquitted. That’s because liberal judges exclude valuable and convincing evidence against a defendant because it’s too prejudicial, or as they say, it’s prejudicial effect outweighs its probative value. The precedents are against me, but I believe that should be for the jury to decide. Too many judges, and all the liberal ones, have an ivory tower view that always favors the accused over the victim and the public. So in that sense, yes, we need different judges.
          In California, all judges, even Supreme Court Justices, must stand for re-election. For Superior Court judges, it’s every six years. For appellate court and Supreme Court justices it is now every twelve years. It is very rare that a sitting judge or justice will not be re-elected. The major exception was California Supreme Court CHIEF Justice Rose Bird. She was appointed by Governor Moonbeam Jerry Brown in the 70’s. She was a Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender at the time. She had never been a judge, or even a Justice of the Peace. She was totally opposed to the death penalty. She made it her personal goal that no death penalty conviction would be upheld in California, no matter how heinous the crime or how lengthy the record of the defendant. And she succeeded. When she came up for re-election she was soundly thrown out. Another exception was here in SC County, Judge Stephen Manley, who never met a criminal who didn’t deserve another chance, no matter how many chances he’d already had. Manley was challenged due to his soft on crime record. He was crushed in the election. California was not a blue state in those days. Governor Moonbeam promptly reappointed Manley when the next appointment seat came open.

  2. I guess I must not be a member of this County after all. I thought I was.
    The other day the County “applauded” SCOTUS’s LGBTQ ruling. I don’t recall applauding. Today the County “celebrated” the DACA ruling. I’ll be damned if I can remember celebrating.
    Just what IS this County thingie that is spoken of? Seems like some sort of exclusive, discriminatory club that’s only open to “our kind of people”.

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