Marshall County District Court recently held its first in-person jury trial in almost two years, a legal official said.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jacob Ford said it felt good to step back into the courtroom and see a jury work again. For him, it was a sorely missed part of the nation’s legal process, and he’s glad to have it back.

“It’s good to get a gauge of the community and where people see what the penalties should be or whether they feel somebody should be found guilty,” Ford said. “We get caught up, as attorneys, in kind of obsessing about our own cases. We get committed to a certain position, and we feel a certain way about a case. But once you hand that to a jury, you lose all control and it all goes to a jury.”

He stated a jury trial had not been held in district court since before the pandemic took root in March 2020.

Todd Lovett, the defendant who was on trial, was found guilty of Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence, and was given 30 days in jail — the maximum sentence that can be imposed for a first offense.

Ford said he was “pleased with the verdict” and noted it’s uncommon to see a jury suggest the maximum penalty against a defendant.

“Whether it’s a DUI or it’s a murder, when you see a jury imposes a maximum penalty, that certainly speaks to where that particular set of citizens, how they feel about this crime and how they feel it impacts the community,” he added.

He noted that Lovett’s trial was the first for district court, not circuit court.