It was the first time attorney Max Schmierer had ever represented a defendant at trial, the first time juror Steven Hedzik had ever even been in a courtroom, and the first time anyone in Beaver County had seen a jury trial since the COVID-19 pandemic hit our borders.
Boyd McElvy, 36, of Beaver Falls, went on trial this week for serious felony firearms charges that carried the possibility of a state prison sentence of 5 to 10 years. President Judge Richard Mancini presided over this first trial of the COVID-19 era, which saw the implementation of unprecedented protocols designed to keep everyone healthy during the Constitutionally guaranteed proceeding.
“My client was incarcerated on this case for 16 months waiting for his right to have a jury trial,” Schmierer told BeaverCountian.com. “It was a difficult situation. Everyone is concerned about what is going on with the coronavirus pandemic … But my client wanted a trial, my client deserved a trial, and it was something that was going to happen. We just didn’t know when.”
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had declared a “statewide judicial emergency” in early March, halting most in-person court functions, including jury trials. This week marked the first trial term in Beaver County since those orders were relaxed.