April 21, 2021 — In the jury selection phase of the murder trial of Eric Lawson in St. Louis Circuit Court, a second juror has reported a positive test for COVID-19.
The latest juror appeared in court on the morning of April 14 for a two-hour session. This juror called Jury Supervisor Joanne Martin on the afternoon of April 19 indicating that she had tested positive April 16 and did not know when or where exposure occurred.
From the April 14 session, seven of 39 prospective jurors had been asked to return on April 20. Martin called each of the seven on April 19 to inform them of the positive juror and indicated that they were not to appear the following day and that their service was complete. For the other jurors in the April 14 session who had not been asked to return, Martin mailed a letter informing them of the positive.
A similar event occurred in a jury selection session April 16, when a prospective juror alerted Martin that they had just received news of a positive COVID-19 result from an earlier test. All 40 prospective jurors from that session were dismissed, and jury selection resumed with other groups of 40 later that afternoon.
The Court has summoned 3,500 people for jury selection in this case, including a 12-page questionnaire to be returned by mail.
During a jury selection process Friday, April 16, a prospective juror alerted the St. Louis Circuit Court that they had just received news of a positive COVID-19 result from an earlier test. Friday was the juror’s first day at the courthouse.
After consultation with the judge and attorneys on the case, the entire group of jurors who were in proximity to the positive person were informed of the positive test and released from duty.
The Court performed contact tracing immediately, closed the area, and scheduled cleaning.
Jury selection will resume on Monday the 19th.
The Court urges that rather than coming to the courthouse, all summoned jurors who feel symptomatic, or have taken a test in the previous 48 hours, or have received a positive result should notify the Jury Supervisor from home before appearing.
APRIL 7, 2021 — Presiding Judge Michael F. Stelzer of the St. Louis Circuit Court has approved an operating plan submitted by Newton G. McCoy, administrative judge of the St. Louis City Municipal Division, and notified the Supreme Court of Missouri that the Municipal Court will move to Phase Three Operations April 12.
Under Phase Three, the Municipal Court will resume in-person trials at 1520 Market Street downtown on April 23, McCoy says in the plan, which details how that court will implement COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols for all parties.