MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The judge in the Derek Chauvin trial has repeatedly told jurors the court is taking every precaution possible to protect them from COVID.
However, the jurors will not get to go to the front of the line to get a vaccine.READ MORE: With 15th Juror Picked, Jury Selection Is Complete
They’re being protected with social distancing and other protocols, as well as unprecedented security.
The judge told all prospective jurors that despite unprecedented television coverage they would be known only as a number.
“No video of you or any other juror will be taken at any time now or during trial if you are selected,” Judge Peter Cahill said. “Also your name will not be used in the courtroom. You will only be referred to by your random number to protect your privacy.”
Jurors’ names will only be made public after the trial – something many prospective jurors didn’t like.
“That makes me nervous,” one juror said.READ MORE: A Seat-By-Seat Look At The Jury In The Derek Chauvin Trial
The COVID precautions in the courtroom are extensive. The jury box has been ripped out and jurors will be sitting in school-type individual desks that are socially distanced.
There is also plexiglass around anyone who will be speaking, including the judge, the attorneys and, of course, the witnesses. A request to have the jurors vaccinated was vetoed earlier this month by state health officials.
“The Minnesota Department of Health folks determined that there’s other trials happening,” Gov. Tim Walz said.
Jurors will get paid $20 a day for their service plus mileage.
Their basic day will start on the courtroom at 9:15 a.m. They will have an hour lunch break provided by the court. Their day in court will end at 4:30 and they can go home.
The judge has said during deliberations they will be sequestered, which means they will have to stay in a hotel and not return home until they reach a verdict or, if they are deadlocked, until the judge declares a mistrial.
The judge has also warned that more pre-trial publicity may lead him to sequester the jury during the trial itself, which is expected to last around four weeks.