Trials to Resume in Erie County Superior Courts

Modified: November 5, 2020 12:09pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that jury and bench trials will resume in Erie County Court and State Supreme Court starting next week as part of the phased reopening of in-person court procedures.

The first criminal case scheduled for jury trial is The People v. Giorgio S. Williams. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday, November 9, 2020. Once a jury has been selected, the trial will take place in the ceremonial courtroom in Old Erie County Hall before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns.

It is alleged that on July 31, 2019, Buffalo Police officers observed the defendant, Giorgio Williams, sitting in a vehicle in parking lot on Grider Street and East Delavan Avenue. When they approached, the officers allegedly smelled the odor of marijuana and observed an open bottle of alcohol in the vehicle. The officers searched the defendant’s vehicle and allegedly found a loaded, illegal handgun and a vile containing marijuana. The defendant was indicted on one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a Class “C” violent felony, and one count of Unlawful Possession of Marijuana, a violation.

Prior to entering the courthouse, the Office of Court Administration requires all jurors, attorneys and witnesses to answer health screening questions and undergo a temperature check. If a person has a temperature of 100.1 or higher and/or fails a verbal screening, they will not be permitted to enter the building. It is the policy of the Office of Court Administration that no one can enter the Erie County Court building without a mask.

Jury selection will take place in the jury assembly room at 25 Delaware Avenue. If a juror fails a health screening question or becomes ill, they should not report to the courthouse and should contact the Commissioner of Jurors. If this should happen, the trial judge will be notified and the trial will be adjourned.

Seating capacity has been reduced in every courtroom to comply with social distancing requirements. Jurors will be directed to sit in designated seats. A second courtroom will be used as a jury breakroom and space for deliberations.

Attorneys, jurors, witnesses and all others entering the courthouse are encouraged to sanitize their hands regularly. Court-provided hand sanitizer is available in all courtrooms and throughout the courthouse. Disposable gloves will also be available. Courtrooms will also be undergoing a strict cleaning procedure prior to the commencement of the trial and at the close of each trial day. Disinfectant will be available to sanitize podiums, microphones and the counsel table during the course of the trial.