First Jury Trial held in Berks Since COVID-19 Crisis Began

On Monday, June 15, 2020, a jury trial commenced in the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. Andrud Joel Morales-Olmo. This marks the first jury trial held since the COVID-19 crisis began in Berks County.

The defendant, Andrud Joel Morales-Olmo was found guilty by a jury of possession of a firearm with altered manufacturer’s numbers and firearms not to be carried without a license.

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The sentencing of the defendant before the Honorable Judge Paul Yatron has been deferred to July 16, 2020 for the completion of a pre-sentence report.

The Court and all the parties involved took many precautions to ensure that all health and safety practices were maintained during this trial. Jury selection took place in the auditorium in the Berks County Services Center where individual jurors were spaced throughout to practice social distancing.

June is almost over, but so far this month the Berks County District Attorneys office has resolved approximately 275 cases.

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“We continue to use video conferencing technology whenever possible. In fact, many out-of-custody defendants have been able to resolve their cases remotely, without stepping foot in the courthouse” say a statement by the DA.

“Next week, we will continue to conduct preliminary hearings, pre-trial hearings, juvenile adjudications and guilty pleas, as well as more jury trials. Safety measures will remain in place to ensure the safety of jurors and all of the participants.”

During the trial, the jurors wore masks and participants wore masks unless that person was speaking or testifying. At all times throughout the trial, the jurors and the participants were spread throughout the courtroom so that social distancing was again maintained.

This case was investigated by City of Reading Police Officer Matthew Troxell and was tried by Assistant District Attorney Colin Boyer.

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