MIDLAND, Texas — Back to business at the Midland County Courthouse. An outbreak of COVID-19 cases closed jury trials for a majority of the month. After the all-clear, trials, including the David Wilson murder trial, will finally begin.
Judge Jeff Robnett tells NewsWest 9 this time around special steps have been to taken to prevent any further disruptions.
"I signed an order on November 19th that put into place some protocols for the trial," said Judgte Robnett. "This involves everything from making masks and shields available, hand sanitizer available and encouraging people to spread out."
Robnett said this is necessary for all, so jurors and both trial teams can return to court and get their job done with peace of mind.
"I can report to you that all the jurors have been contacted over the last week or so and all the jurors are available except for one," said Robnett. "That juror was infected after this jury duty from a family member and is on quarantine beyond this week."
The court will have other mitigation efforts in place, including screening as soon as people enter the courthouse.
"No matter the number of entries people will have to get their temperatures taken and that includes the participants in the trial," said Robnett. "Individuals with fever over 99 degrees will be denied access."
Judge Robnett believes COVID-19 is here to stay, but that does not mean the justice system has to change.
"As far as what is changing, not a lot, but we are not going to force people to wear a face mask and we wont kick them our courts," said Robnett. "The courts are open for a reason so people see the justice system work.
Judge Tryon Lewis has been assigned to oversee the trial. Wilson's jury trial is set to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday.