Mecosta and Osceola County Judges Seek New Jury Selection Site

MECOSTA COUNTY – Circuit court judges in Mecosta and Osceola County are considering establishing an offsite jury selection location in Reed City.

In a letter to Mecosta County Administrator Paul Bullock, 49th Circuit Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy requested funding approval for a For The Record system to be used on-site.

“We have identified a facility in Reed City where we could make jury selections,” Hill-Kennedy said in the letter. “We would like this to work for Osceola and Mecosta County. The main issue to be addressed is the recording equipment.

Last summer, the Williams Auditorium, located on the Ferris State University campus, was set up as an offsite jury selection location due to capacity limits set by pandemic safety recommendations. COVID-19. Bullock said the facility was no longer available to the courts.

Hill-Kennedy said the recording system used at the Williams Auditorium was borrowed from the Osceola County Estates Court and is no longer available either.

“We are exploring purchasing an FTR recording system that could be left in the Reed City jury selection location until we return to a more typical jury selection routine and then use it as a backup for our current systems and as needed for the future offsite court. business, ”Hill-Kennedy said.

Bullock said the other courts – district, estate and family – can perform necessary functions in the normal way, but the circuit court cannot. Therefore, they look for a remote location off-site “as required during the pandemic”.

Mecosta County District Judge Pete Jaklevic has previously said district and estate court trials are much smaller and can be conducted at the courthouse while following CDC security guidelines.

With criminal cases involving more than 100 potential jurors, circuit courtrooms are too small to accommodate so many under CDC guidelines restricting capacity and spacing, he said.

Bullock said the proposal is to split the expenses between Mecosta and Osceola counties, but one must spend the money and be reimbursed by the other.

“The courts have come to us asking for approval of the spending,” Bullock said.

Council approved an expenditure of up to $ 10,000 for recording equipment, if deemed necessary to establish the jury selection site off-site.

The location of the offsite facility has not yet been determined.

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