KINGMAN — Mohave County is ready to conduct its first jury trial in more than three months. Jury selection begins today for the two-day trial of Sunday Kunkushi.

Kunkushi, 45, is charged in a 2018 case in which officers reportedly seized about 44 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop about 45 miles west of Kingman.

Jury trials were suspended in mid-March as the court’s response to slowing the spread of COVID-19. The pandemic remains at the center of reopening operations for the courts.

Most people who enter any court facility in Mohave County will be required to wear face coverings except when speaking or testifying. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommendations on social distancing and crowd size also are implemented.

Presiding Judge Chuck Gurtler has said that the county has been a national pioneer in the use of teleconferencing to conduct grand jury proceedings. And now some summoned as prospective jurors can appear through use of Zoom.

“To be approved for this, the juror must complete the mandatory pre-certification process,” said a news release issued from the Superior Court clerk’s office. “Prospective jurors must have a PC, laptop, phone or tablet, an internet connection, speakers and a microphone, a webcam or HD webcam, a Zoom-supported operating system, and a quiet place with no distractions.”

Cleaning protocols have been implemented to provide as safe an environment as possible as the county court system begins grinding through a backlog of trials that have piled up over the last 14 weeks.

“Rigorous cleaning is done between hearings and nightly,” the news release said. “Those who are sick will not be allowed in the courthouse. In addition, when necessary, for social distancing other facilities may be used.”

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