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‘Justice Deferred’: Tonight on Kansas City PBS

Jury Trials Have Ground to a Halt Due to the Pandemic

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Above image credit: Nick Haines explores how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the court system on "Justice Deferred," tonight on Kansas City PBS. ( John McGrath | Flatland)

Kansas City PBS is on the trail of an underreported story of the COVID-19 pandemic. And to tell you about it, we have no choice but to take you to court.

Did you know that since shutdown orders first went into effect back in March, there have been virtually no jury trials anywhere in the country? Now Kansas City area courts are worried how they’ll ever get 12 jurors to sit next to each other in a courtroom again.

Would you serve on a jury in the middle of a pandemic? And what about those who have been charged with crimes? Hundreds of defendants have been sitting in jail cells indefinitely, with no certainty on when a jury of their peers will decide their fate. 

As the coronavirus pandemic upends every institution and industry, Kansas City PBS is tracking the unique challenges facing our court system.

A dozen local citizens accepted an official jury summons to appear on our special “Kansas City Week in Review” program this week. We partnered with the District Court in Johnson County and the Johnson County Bar Association to help make it happen.

Just how will we restart deferred justice? Judge for yourself Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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