Lee Co. prepares for first jury trial

Lee Co. prepares for first jury trial

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Lee County held its first grand jury Monday.

The county also held its first jury selection, and this time looked much different than before.

WALB News 10 found out the measures they’re taking to help keep people safe from COVID-19 as the county begins resuming trials since they were paused due to the pandemic.

Jury selection started at The Bindery and then moved to the Lee County Courthouse.

District Attorney Lewis Lamb said they are holding jury selection at The Bindery because there’s not enough room at the courthouse. The Bindery is a part of the Oakland Library in Leesburg.

Lewis Lamb, the district attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit.
Lewis Lamb, the district attorney for the Southwestern Judicial Circuit. (Source: WALB)

“Typically, to seat a panel of jurors we need between 55 to 75 people, and we don’t have enough space in this courthouse to put 50 people in a socially distance compliant manner,” explained Lamb.

Out of the 50 people, 12 will be selected with an additional two alternates. Alternates are in case someone cannot make it that day.

The jurors will now sit in the gallery with marked seats, witnesses will testify from the jury box and the tables where lawyers sit are turned at an angle and socially distanced so they can see witnesses and the jury box.

“When you’re trying a case you want to be able to watch all of the folks at once because you want to be able to judge whatever kind of facial reactions you’re getting and expressions from the jury,” said Lamb.

In the courthouse, there are several stations of hand sanitizer and masks are provided if you need one.

In the courthouse, there are several stations of hand sanitizer and masks are provided if you need one.
In the courthouse, there are several stations of hand sanitizer and masks are provided if you need one. (Source: WALB)

Lamb said everyone will wear masks throughout the process. However, if a witness is being questioned, they may remove their mask.

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