Here is more on that federal criminal trial described in my September 28, 2020 Post: How do we Resume Jury Trials in Vermont It’s based on remarks made by Chief United States District Judge Geoffrey Crawford today at a Federal Bar Association CLE on Qui Tam litigation.
The Judge points out that the case was a quick and simple one, but still involved over 40 participants. He noted that the lawyers could not be kept from closely conferring at counsel table, even though they did not meet the expectations of remaining socially distant. He also said that the lawyers could not be heard through their masks and so, did their examinations and arguments from the podium, which was surrounded by plexiglass.
Judge Crawford pointed out that all the witnesses were local to Vermont. He did not see how witnesses from out of state, particularly expert witnesses, could practically be accommodated during the pandemic.
Finally, he said that he did not see how the adjustments made to allow the case to go forward could be applied to a complex 3 or 4 week civil case and, as a result, said that he did not see trials in those cases resuming anytime soon.