Q: How has the State Attorney’s office dealt with the pandemic?
A: On March 17, 2020, like a lot of businesses, we went remote. About 95 percent of our employees, with the exception of a small group, including myself and some who conduct business in the offices and answer phones, were told to work from home. And they have been ever since. I’m happy to say that we’ve still been very productive. We have filed and resolved thousands of cases. I’d say with the technology we have today, the remote working environment is going to be more and more accepted.
Q: What types of cases have you been able to conduct remotely?
A: We’ve handled first appearances, pre-trials, arraignments, pleas, and non-jury trials remotely and haven’t missed a beat. We’ve kept the backlog to a minimum.
Q: Have you been able to have jury trials?
A: We have had a few jury trials during the pandemic. The 7th Circuit was the first to hold in-person jury trials … a few in Flagler County and a few in St. Johns County. We utilized masks for all participants and social distancing as well as plastic facial coverings for witnesses. I applaud our citizens for their participation as jurors. We have had to cancel jury trials for a few weeks, because we are always monitoring COVID cases and percentages of positivity. I’m hopeful that with the roll out of the vaccine, we will be able to restart the trials soon.
Q: Have you been able to seat grand juries?
A: In the last couple of months, we have picked grand juries in each county. We have had four murder indictments in Flagler County and expect to convene the grand jury in St. Johns County soon.
Q: So when do you think you will all get to come back to the office?
A: We are definitely moving towards this goal. I think a lot of businesses, including the State Attorney’s office, are monitoring work from home for the future, though. It seems to be working well in many cases.