Matthew Menchel on the “New Normal” of COVID-era Jury Trials

May 26, 2020

Publication: Bloomberg Law

Kobre & Kim’s Matthew Menchel recently spoke with Bloomberg Law on new courtroom dynamics as COVID-19 lockdowns ease and judges reboot jury trials.

As courts around the U.S. reopen one by one, concerns are raised about how in-person jury trials will be conducted. One major unanswered question regarding jury trials during a pandemic is whether jurors, witnesses or attorneys will have to wear masks, Menchel indicated. The experienced trial lawyer pointed out that the wearing of masks would dramatically change the feel of the trial and impact the interpretation of social cues that usually play an important role in jury trials: “Quite literally,” Menchel pointed out, “I think a mask can actually mask a lot of the cues that we’re used to looking at when we’re evaluating people.” 

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