EDTX Jury Trials Cancelled to May 1; Other Deadlines Continue to Run

This General Order provides additional guidance regarding EDTX operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The important take-away is that all jury trials which were scheduled to begin through May 1, 2020 are continued to a date to be reset by each presiding judge. But that continuance of the trial settings does not continue any pending deadlines other than the trial dates.

Similar to Judge Gilstrap’s prior order for his cases, attorneys should contact the presiding judges in their cases if they need to modify other deadlines. Individual judges may continue to hold proceedings as they deem appropriate, and counsel, again, are directed to seek relief from those matters by appropriate motions when necessary. “This order is intended to afford each presiding judge with maximum discretion to handle their respective dockets (aside from jury trials addressed above) as they deem best considering the totality of the circumstances.”

Changes to EDTX Jury Wheel

Currently, EDTX jury wheels draw from lists of registered voters. Other courts, such as, for example the adjacent Northern District of Texas, draw from voter lists and drivers license lists, and eliminate duplicates. The EDTX proposes to change to a similar system including drivers licenses. If the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council approves, the change will take effect on January 1, 2020. (I know they don’t actually use rotating drums with slips of paper any more, but I’m fond of the old terminology).