STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA IN THE GENERAL COURT OF JUSTICE
COUNTY OF BUNCOMBE DISTRICT COURT DIVISION
TWENTY-EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
February 10, 2021
Re: Jury Trial Resumption in the District Courts of Buncombe County
Consistent with 7A-146, the Chief District Court Judge has the authority to the administrative and operational direction of the District Courts.
While the Courts are allowed to resume jury trials under the Chief Justice’s Order, on this matter he has expressly indicated that each jurisdiction would need to make the determination on specifically when jury trials could be resumed efficiently and safely.
Buncombe County under the guidance of our local health officials have redesigned the Historic 5th floor Courtroom to be compliant with safety protocols for holding jury trials. We have only the one courtroom, at this time, to hold jury trials in compliance with safety protocols. While the 5th floor Courtroom is a “Superior Court” Courtroom, Judge Thornburg has graciously agreed to allow the District Courts to use it when the Superior Courts are not using it for Superior Court matters.
The Superior Courts have not been able to entertain jury trials since late March and have developed a backlog of jury trials that need to be processed. Judge Thornburg has set February 15, 2021 as the date to start again with Superior Court jury trials.
The District Courts will not be starting to do jury trials at this time because of the limited amenities to do so safely. We will however continue to do our non jury matters. We will again review the progress of Superior Court jury trials after September 15, 2021 to determine the availability of the 5th floor Courtroom for District Court jury trials.
The District Courts will resume jury trials as soon as practically possible.
This Order becomes effective immediately, this day of February 10, 2021.
Chief District Court Judge Buncombe County
Honorable J. Calvin Hill