Civil jury trials in New Jersey will resume in a virtual format next month on a limited basis, the state Supreme Court announced Thursday.
Under the order signed by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, virtual civil trials will be held in vicinages covering Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem, Monmouth, Passaic and Union counties beginning on February 1.
During this first phase, trials will proceed only if both parties consent to the virtual format.
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Virtual civil trials will be held across the state beginning on April 5, with consent from the parties not required. The trials will be restricted at first to cases involving a single defendant or plaintiff and a limited number of witnesses, according to the order.
Jury selection will be conducted remotely, and the courts will provide computer tablets to jurors who need them. Up to two additional alternate jurors will be selected, beyond the number normally seated in an in-person trial, in case empaneled jurors experience technical difficulties.
According to Thursday's order, jurors may be asked to do a 360-degree scan of their room to show they are in a private location.