District residents scheduled for jury duty this week can thank Pope Francis for a temporary repreive. With the many road closures and heavy traffic expected from the pope’s three-day visit, DC Courts will operate on an emergency schedule through Thursday, spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz writes in an email.
The only hearings going on during the pope’s stay will be arraignments, new juvenile referrals, and preventive detention hearings. “Jurors need not report,” the email reads. “Grand jurors and those already empanelled on a jury in a particular trial should report the next scheduled day of service.”
Additionally, any parties looking to file documents by hand with either DC Superior Court or the Court of Appeals can use the drop box outside the Court of Appeals.
Gurowitz says the decision to close the courthouses was made in light of the crowds expected to gather downtown for a glimpse of the pope, especially on Thursday, when Francis will be at the Capitol three blocks away. The District’s court system usually goes to emergency schedules when there is a major weather event, holiday, or power outages.
The US District Court for the District of Columbia will also be closed Thursday.