Riley County commissioners received an update from the county courts on their progress since the start of the pandemic.

21st District Chief Judge Grant Bannister says since they have had to put jury trials on hold, they are focusing on other venues for both trials and jury selection. Currently they are focusing on the Wareham for jury selection.

The district court needs to be able to seat over 70 people for its higher criminal felony cases.  Bannister says the current courtrooms are not able to hold that many people even before the pandemic.

After speaking with court staff, Commissioner Kathryn Focke, and the Riley County Police Department, Bannister has determined the Wareham would match the court’s needs. Bannister says they anticipate using this location for jury selection for a while, but could potentially use it for trials as well.

” I think we could get back into our courtrooms for the trial itself after we whittle down to the 12 jurors or 12 with an alternate or two as needed,” says Bannister.

The district court had previously been using the Rock Hills Church for jury trials during the pandemic.

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