UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA
IN THE MATTER OF SCHEDULING JURY TRIALS
AMENDED STANDING ORDER
On March 17, 2020, Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange entered Standing
Order 20-03, cancelling jury trials and grand jury proceedings through April
24,2020, due to the outbreak of the respiratory disease COVID-19 in South
Dakota and the bordering states. The COVID-19 virus continued to spread in
the United States and within the State of South Dakota.
On April 8, 2020, because of the increasing spread of COVID-19 and
after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and consulting
with representatives of numerous agencies, Chief Judge Lange entered a First
Amended Standing Order 20-03 which extended cancellation of jury trials and
grand jury proceedings through July 6, 2020.
Since July 6, 2020, some divisions of the District of South Dakota have
experienced a decline in the spread ofCOVID-19 and have successfully
conducted jury trials and allowed grand juries to convene. In the Western
Division, COVID-19 positive test numbers are increasing substantially making
it difficult to predict when jury trials may be safely conducted. New
information received this week from the U.S. Marshals Service confirms a
COVID-19 outbreak among staff at the Pennington County Jail where
defendants are housed awaiting trial.
By a Third Amended Standing Order 20-03 issued on July 22,2020,
Chief Judge Lange left it to each judge in each division to determine whether
COVID-19 continues to be a significant health issue in that judge's division.
By the standing order, each district judge is authorized to determine whether
there is an inability to safely call and retain an adequate cross-section of jurors
in order to conduct criminal jury trials. Each judge is authorized to make
findings as to whether the interests of justice are best served by continuing
criminal jury trials and whether that decision outweighs the interest of the
public and any defendant's right to a speedy trial. If the court makes those
findings, it may exclude the resulting periods of delay under the Speedy Trial
Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(A).
Standing Order 20-08 regarding the conduct of jury trials and the
suspension of Speedy Trial Act rights was posted on July 27, 2020. That order
was in effect until August 24, 2020. The court finds that since August 24,
2020, the Western Division of the District of South Dakota continues to
experience rising COVID-19 positive test results, community spread of the
virus and deaths caused at least in part by COVID-19.
The court further finds the existing public health emergency and the need to follow guidance from the
Centers for Disease Control continues to create an inability to safely call jurors
for criminal jury trials.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the ends of justice are best served by continuing criminal
jury trials until October 2, 2020, and that decision outweighs the interest of
the public and any defendant's right to a speedy trial. The court will make
particularized findings as to the criminal jury trials presently scheduled prior
to October 2, 2020, after determining whether each trial may safely proceed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that pursuant to the Third Amended
Standing Order 20-03, this Amended Standing Order 20-08, and until further
order of the court the periods of delay resulting from these continuances are
excluded under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161 (h) (7) (A) for the period
commencing August 24, 2020, to October 2, 2020.
Dated August 28, 2020.
BY THE COURT:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE