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Jury session cancelled due to COVID concerns

In an order issued by Jeffrey Alan White, presiding circuit judge for Escambia County, the December 2020 jury term has been cancelled.

In a release from the off of the Escambia County Circuit Clerk John Robert Fountain’s office on Tuesday, the decision was made in response to the recent increase in the sitive number of cases of COVID-19 in the county.

“The Escambia County court system is pursuing all possible avenues to reduce the risk of COVID to the public and court personnel,” Fountain said in a statement. “At the direction of our Presiding Circuit Judge Jeffrey Alan White, jury terms will resume in January 2021 as scheduled.”

Fountain said that anyone who received a summons for the December 14 jury term, is being directed to disregard that notice.

In Judge White’s order he encouraged the District Attorney and defense counsel to use the week of December 14 to discuss settlement of cases due to be heard during the planned jury term.

“A circuit judge will be available to take pleas,” White’s order read. “All other large dockets will be managed by the judge presiding over said docket to mitigate the risk to the public and court personnel.”

This cancellation of the jury term for December was not made lightly, Fountain said.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding during this time,” Fountain said. “Our office is available to provide any information on questions or concerns anyone may have regarding the matter.”

Fountain can be reached in his office at the Escambia County Courthouse on Belleville Avenue or by calling the office at (251) 867-0225.

As a reminder, anyone planning to visit the Escambia County Courthouse is required to wear a face covering and will be subject to temperature checks at the entrance of the building.

The courthouse is located at 314 Belleville Avenue.