"Conscientious jurors, in my opinion, they're going to make the decision based on the evidence, not based on what your mask looked like," Miami trial attorney Stuart Ratzan said.

When COVID-19 began crippling courts in 2020, trial attorney Stuart Ratzan reached out to the American Board of Trial Advocates’ then-Miami chairman Norman Waas with serious concerns about the future of live jury trials.

Those concerns were rewarded with a major appointment: to lead ABOTA’s Miami-Dade COVID-19 Jury Trial Task Force.

“I realized right away that we would have a problem and that this would go on for a while and that we need to find a way to adapt, otherwise the court system would shut down,” Ratzan said.

As Miami-Dade Circuit Chief Judge Bertila Soto’s main adviser, Ratzan’s father advised that in-person jury trials can go ahead, provided they’re done correctly: with strict social distancing, health screenings and face masks.

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