The high-profile trial of the first Nashville police officer charged with murder for an on-duty shooting could be postponed, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jury selection for Officer Andrew Delke’s trial is scheduled to begin June 15. But according to a new order from the Tennessee Supreme Court, all jury trials will remain suspended until July 3, “unless there are extraordinary circumstances.”
Chief Justice Jeff Bivins ordered courts statewide to halt most in-person proceedings in mid-March, to limit the number of people flowing in and out of facilities often teeming with attorneys, defendants, witnesses and loved ones. Since then, court proceedings have taken place through video or audio conference.
On Friday, the judge extended the judicial state of emergency through May 31. However, local judicial districts are allowed to start developing plans to expand their in-person services, taking social distancing and other safety measures into account. Each district’s plan will have to be approved by the state Supreme Court.
Bivins said in a statement that he expects strategies to vary across the state, depending on the facilities and resources in each district. And he encouraged courts to continue using video and audio conferencing whenever possible.
“We have a long way to go in defeating this virus,” Bivins said. “The more social distancing that can be done, the better it will be for everyone.”