JONESBORO — New coronavirus cases have been on a decline but the state Supreme Court has delayed jury trials out of caution.
Citing concern from Arkansas Department of Health officials, the Supreme Court of Arkansas extended its suspension of pending jury trials through April 30. The previous extension was set to expire at the end of the month.
“The Supreme Court of Arkansas is encouraged by the recent downward trend in COVID-19 infections in the state and by the increase in vaccinations,” the order read. “Going forward, we will continue to monitor these trends with the anticipation that, if positive progress continues, jury trials may resume.”
According to ADH data, active cases decreased by 916, and 10 Arkansans were added to the death toll – totaling to 7,323 active cases and 5,523 deaths. Due to the coronavirus, 625 patients are hospitalized 107 are on ventilators.
Severe weather has slowed vaccine distribution but 4,137 doses were given recently, data indicates.
“Our vaccine numbers have slowed over the past few days and we anticipate these numbers to increase once the roads clear up throughout the state,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement. “We hope that vaccine uptake will continue among those who are eligible. I ask that, once it’s your turn, you roll up your sleeve and help protect your community.”
Justices reminded the public that courts have been open during the pandemic and “shall continue to be open.”
“Today’s actions are to protect the safety of jurors, litigants, attorneys, court personnel and the public,” the order dated Feb. 12 states. “We therefore recommend that circuit court judges, circuit court clerks, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders and private attorneys take the next few weeks to prepare for the resumption of jury trials.”
Several Craighead County District Court dates were previously rescheduled in late January “out of an abundance of caution,” citing the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Appearances set for 1 p.m. Feb. 1-3 in Jonesboro are rescheduled for March 15-17; Feb. 8-10 on April 12-14; Feb. 16-17 on June 1-2; and Feb. 22-24 to June 14-16. Lake City first appearance dates set at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 4 will be continued on March 18, Feb. 11 on April 8, Feb. 18 on April 15 and Feb. 25 to May 13.
Court appearances scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in Lake City have been rescheduled to the following dates: Thursday to April 22, Jan. 21 to April 29 and Jan. 28 to May 6.
Northeast Arkansas coronavirus stats by county, as of Thursday:
Clay – 23 active cases, 1,589 recoveries, 46 deaths.
Craighead – 216 active cases, 12,258 recoveries, 174 deaths.
Crittenden – 107 active cases, 5,417 recoveries, 93 deaths.
Cross – 28 active cases, 1,810 recoveries, 47 deaths.
Greene – 75 active cases, 5,611 recoveries, 74 deaths.
Jackson – 23 active cases, 3,073 recoveries, 33 deaths.
Lawrence – 31 active cases, 1,917 recoveries, 41 deaths.
Mississippi – 101 active cases, 5,291 recoveries, 112 deaths.
Poinsett – 50 active cases, 2,925 recoveries, 75 deaths.
Randolph – 14 active cases, 1,849 recoveries, 49 deaths.
Sharp – 22 active cases, 1,439 recoveries, 50 deaths.