July 8, 2020

Civil Courts Remote Jury Trial Pilot Program

The Travis County Civil District & County Judges are aware of uncertainties and concerns regarding the resumption of jury trials in Travis County during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to assure the lawyers, litigants, jurors, and staff who participate in jury trials that we are equally committed to the resumption of jury trials as we are to the health and safety of those involved in the trials. To that end, we are exploring options that modify some prior practices while assuring due process of law and compliance with applicable emergency orders and public-health advisories. We seek solutions that will preserve and protect the constitutional rights and statutory requirements which form the bedrock of our democracy.

Together with the Office of Court Administration and the Austin Bar Association’s Jury Trial Task Force, we are working on a pilot program to resume jury trials via Zoom, beginning in mid-August 2020. During the pilot program, jury selection and jury trials will be conducted live and completely remote. Criminal and Child Welfare cases will not be included in the pilot program. If all parties agree, litigants may schedule one or two-day binding trials or one-day nonbinding summary trials on the following dates:

August 17, 2020;
August 31, 2020; and
September 14, 2020.

If you would like to learn more about the options being considered for the pilot program, we encourage you to participate in two webcasts scheduled to occur on July 16, 2020 at noon and July 27, 2020 at noon. The Austin Bar will host these webcasts, which will be free and available online.

CLICK HERE for information about the July 16 webcast, and CLICK HERE for information on the July 27 webcast.

As we explore options, we appreciate your patience as we work together to find solutions to the challenging, complex issues at hand. Despite the circumstances, we remain dedicated to the rule of law and our duties to its preservation. To provide suggestions or to participate in our pilot program on one of the available dates, please contact Judge Karin Crump’s court staff at 250.submission@traviscountytx.gov.