Register for Tuesday’s remote hearing webinar
State courts are using video technology to conduct hearings remotely, but the state court administrators and chief justices who serve on CCJ-COSCA’s Pandemic Rapid Response Team (RRT) urge more courts to use it because, they say, it will help courts continue to provide access to justice—and because it will be around long after the pandemic ends.
The RRT is hosting a free webinar starting at 3 p.m. EDT on Tuesday to learn how to establish remote hearings. Register here. During the webinar, attendees will hear from state court administrators who have implemented remote hearings as well as from judges who are conducting them.
To date, four states and Puerto Rico have mandated that their courts implement virtual hearings while 30 other states and Washington, D.C., urge their courts to use them. As of Friday afternoon, Texas has conducted 3,429 proceedings with 26,513 participants.
New York, which began using video technology last month to conduct essential court proceedings, continues to give more of its state courts the ability to do that. Starting today, the Eighth and Ninth Judicial Districts – in the southeast and northwest parts of the state -- began virtual court operations. “We are now providing the ability for all court users to appear remotely, thereby reducing the risk of spreading the coronavirus," said Kathie Davidson, Ninth Judicial District administrative judge.
In Miami Dade Circuit Court, criminal court judges are conducting remote hearings. In a recent hearing to determine if a defendant should be allowed to await trial at his home, only the judge and defense attorney were in the courtroom. The defendant attended from a jail conference room, the prosecutor from his back patio, the lead detective from his parked police SUV and the alleged victim from her home, her face obscured.
"As much as everyone is on hold, we want to get matters taken care of," said Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Nushin Sayfie told the Miami Herald. "We want to get cases disposed of properly ... we're doing everything we can with the understanding that we're asking for more patience."
Have information to share about how your court is responding to the pandemic? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.