This page provides a collection of articles from outside sources relevant to online courtrooms.

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October 13, 2020

Jury Selection Via Zoom Is So Thorny, a New Jersey Court Lawyered Up—and Beat a Challenge

The order puts a halt to disruption in a case that is central to the judiciary's effort to resolve any glitches with COVID-19-related procedures before restarting criminal and civil jury trials statewide.

October 1, 2020

Defending The Right To Confrontation In Virtual Criminal Trials

Remember the iconic, cinematic scene in "The Wizard of Oz" when, after having her home swept up by a tornado, Dorothy emerges from her house, steps outside, takes in her new, albeit strange, surroundings and exclaims, "Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore"? For anyone involved in litigation during the COVID-19 outbreak, this sentiment may be all too familiar.

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September 18, 2020

Lessons From An In-Court Jury Trial During The Pandemic

After months of delay due to COVID-19, the Indiana Supreme Court allowed jury trials in the state to commence on July 1. Two weeks later, attorneys and parties from within the state and beyond convened in Warsaw, Indiana, for a weeklong civil jury trial.

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September 16, 2020

This Louisiana judge continues to innovate during the COVID-19 crisis

Judge Scott Schlegel’s history of utilizing technology in his Louisiana courtroom to make life easier for attorneys and members of the public has come in very handy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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September 14, 2020

Witnesses Not Safe With Livestreamed Trials, Philly DA Says

Philadelphia's district attorney told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday that the city's practice of livestreaming criminal trials, adopted as cases restarted this month after the pandemic largely shut down court operations in March, threatened the privacy of crime victims and raised the specter of rampant witness intimidation.

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September 11, 2020

Technology in the Practice of Law: The Virtual Courtroom- Zoom on Steroids

During the past several months we have been exposed to a number of different approaches to practicing law remotely. One of these has been video conferencing through a variety
of platforms that work well generally but present questions of insecurity, awkwardness, and general lack of formality. Services have been available to assist courts with remote  technology, but the coronavirus
pandemic has brought them front and center.

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August 4, 2020

Conducting Fair and Just Remote Hearings: A BENCH GUIDE FOR JUDGES

Many courts have embraced innovative communication technologies, especially videoconferencing platforms, to conduct routine hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these technologies provide an effective solution for managing cases until the pandemic abates, interpersonal communication in a remote platform differs considerably from the in-person experience

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July 31, 2020

Courts dramatically rethink the jury trial in the era of
the coronavirus

The prosecutor reported to Courtroom 4J with a tape measure. The public defender rolled in with a bag full of six-foot lengths of rope. A defense attorney showed up lugging a hockey stick.

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July 23, 2020

Fla. Jury Selection Success Shows Viability Of Remote Trials

In the latter part of June, 120 prospective jurors residing in Broward County, Florida, received a summons for jury duty from the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, where I serve as chief judge. 

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July 20, 2020

Mistrial Motion Says Jurors Worked Out, Checked Stove, During Virtual Voir Dire in Asbestos Case

Jurors curled up in bed, working out on an elliptical machine, getting up to check if the stove’s burner was on.

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July 10, 2020

Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile Issues New General Order Delaying Trials As Covid-19 Pandemic Continues Unabated

As masses of legal work shift online, trial lawyers are turning on their webcams and realizing their old courtroom skills are no longer enough. But recent remote proceedings are already showing that online trials can actually work — with the right considerations.

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July 8, 2020

NITA'S Statement on the Importance of In-Person Advocacy in Courts 

Recent articles in the public and legal press have started a discussion about the need for virtual trials. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our judicial system has struggled to balance the competing right of health and safety with the right to due process in criminal and civil actions.

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June 26, 2020

Jury Service Begins for Trials Delayed by COVID-19 Pandemic

Courts create safety measures that include screening, cleaning, and social distancing.

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June 19, 2020

Jury trials move to arenas and auditoriums to protect
against COVID-19

A middle school basketball court in Tishomingo County will become a temporary Circuit Court next week.

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June 3, 2020

Miami-Dade Circuit Among 5 Florida Courts Chosen to Test Virtual Civil Jury Trials

Five trial court circuits have been chosen to test remote technology for in-person civil jury trials across Florida as a safer alternative to comply with the coronavirus social distancing safety measures.

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June 2, 2020

Courtwide Expansion of Remote Courtroom Appearance Technology will Offer Convenient, Safe Options to Access Justice in Nations's Largest Trial Court 

Attorneys and self-represented litigants will have the option to make audio or video appearances in Los Angeles County courtrooms by using the Court’s new LACourtConnect technology that will provide a secure, safe and convenient way to attend hearings remotely. 

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May 26, 2020

Courts soon to emerge from coronavirus restrictions, reopening in a new reality

Southern California courthouses whose operations were drastically curtailed in  the midst off the Coronavirus pandemic  are  gearing  up  for  a  reawakening,  butt  
justice will look much different as judges work to balance health concerns and constitutional rights. 

 

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May 20, 2020

Judges Prefer Zoom And WebEx As Courtrooms Go Virtual

Zoom and WebEx are the online platforms of choice for judges throughout the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Judicial College's polling of hundreds of judges.

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May 12, 2020

Judicial Council Launches Working Group to Aid Courts in Pandemic Recovery

The Judicial Council of California has launched the Pandemic Continuity of Operations Working Group, which will quickly collect best practices and publish a framework to help the state's 58 superior courts address interrupted services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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May 11, 2020

Remote Courtrooms Here To Stay As Judges Tackle Backlogs

Federal and state court judges say they are likely to rely heavily on remote courtrooms, including virtual trials, as the prospect of fully reopening the justice system to its former capacity remains a distant goal for many, and case backlogs and delays continue to mount.

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April 29, 2020

Ohio's First Post-COVID Jury Trial Was Set to Begin. Then the Defendant Nearly Collapsed _ Law.com

The incident, which was livestreamed on the court's feed, has provided something of a cautionary tale for courts and attorneys as local justice systems across the country begin to figure out how to relax restrictions.

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April 26, 2020

A jury social distanced through an 8-week trial as COVID-19 raged. Here's how they did it

In an extraordinary criminal trial that ran through the heart of the coronavirus pandemic, jurors listened to evidence in a federal courtroom in Lexington that was reconfigured specifically to protect them from the virus.

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March 13, 2020

ABA creates task force to address legal needs arising from coronavirus pandemic

In response to the growing legal needs of ordinary Americans arising from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the American Bar Association has created a nationwide task force of volunteer lawyers and judges from across the legal profession.

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October 8, 2020

Key Takeaways From Groundbreaking Virtual Civil Jury Trial

As I sat at my laptop to view the recorded videos of the nation's first remote jury trial with a binding verdict (Cayla Griffin v. Albanese Enterprise Inc., d/b/a/ Paradise),[1] I was enlivened as the event was a sign that jury trials were back. The trial was part of Florida's Fourth Judicial Circuit Court's virtual civil jury trial pilot program,[2] which was created to address the challenges generated by the pandemic.

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September 23, 2020

Lessons From An In-Court Jury Trial During The Pandemic

After months of delay due to COVID-19, the Indiana Supreme Court allowed jury trials in the state to commence on July 1. Two weeks later, attorneys and parties from within the state and beyond convened in Warsaw, Indiana, for a weeklong civil jury trial.

FULL ARTICLE

September 18, 2020

Texas Extends Halt On In-Person Jury Trials To Dec.

The Texas Supreme Court said Friday it was pushing back in-person jury proceedings to Dec. 1 for justices and municipal courts while establishing a five-step plan for district courts that wish to try cases live before that date during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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September 15, 2020

How to succeed in the virtual age

Think a remote trial is “virtually” impossible? Think again.

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September 14, 2020

Lawyers are getting schooled in how to be effective on screen because many legal proceedings are still not taking place at courthouses.

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August 27, 2020

Federal Judges Reinventing the Jury Trial During Pandemic

These days, the work of a U.S. district judge can seem a lot like “building an airplane while you’re flying it,” says Judge Karen K. Caldwell, one of the first federal judges to resume jury trials after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic bloomed like ocean algae in the United States this past spring.

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August 4, 2020

All U.S. Appeals Courts Embrace
Argument Streaming Due to Covid

All 13 federal appeals courts now are livestreaming oral arguments compared to four prior to the
pandemic, the latest sign of how Covid-19 has made U.S. courts more transparent. The embrace of live audio or video by federal and state courts that’s attracting audiences in cases from Washington to Hawaii has advocates hopeful that increased public access will remain even after the
pandemic ends.

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July 29, 2020

NYC's 1st Pandemic Jury Trial: Masks, Murmurs, Wary Jurors

A tall, bearded federal inmate sobbed loudly in front of New York City's first live jury amid the COVID-19 pandemic as he spoke of his friend's gruesome death — the witness's features obscured by a shiny face shield, a blue mask dangling from his left ear and a wall of plexiglass.

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July 23, 2020

An All-Virtual Mock Trial Shows How Remote Trials Can be Conducted 

Two months ago, organizers for a mock trial program decided to pull together an online version of an event that ordinarily takes two years to plan.

Joel M. Androphy, a partner at Berg & Androphy in Houston and co-chair of the program, has helped organize the biennial National False Claims Act and Qui Tam Trial Institute for several years.

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July 22, 2020

'Waiting Is Not An Option': NJ Plans To Restart Jury Trials

New Jersey judiciary officials unveiled a plan Wednesday to resume jury trials in September under a hybrid system that will combine remote jury selection with in-person proceedings, saying "waiting is not an option" for litigants as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

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July 14, 2020

California Defendant Asks: Should Prospective Jurors Wear Face Masks?

It’s not just a theoretical question. A defendant set to begin voir dire this week in an asbestos trial in Oakland cited face masks on prospective jurors as a primary concern in a July 9 petition before the California Supreme Court.

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July 10, 2020

Courthouses Close Anew as Staff, Judges Test Positive for COVID-19

Some courthouses across Georgia are closing again as employees and judges who had begun restoring court operations have tested positive for COVID-19. 

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July 7, 2020

Zoom launches Hardware as a Service with multiple vendor options

Zoom Video Communications announced the launch of its first ever Zoom Hardware as a Service (HaaS) in the US on Tuesday. Zoom HaaS provides technology equipped with Zoom Rooms and Zoom Phone, making the products more accessible and scalable, which is especially critical during the evolving enterprise landscape.

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June 26, 2020

Outside Pa.'s Big Cities, A Look At Trial Work In The Pandemic

While judges in Pennsylvania's legal epicenters of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh eye the fall for a potential return to jury trials after courts were largely closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, a handful of smaller counties are providing a blueprint of sorts after trying cases this month with a slew of new safety measures.

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June 10, 2020

Jurors, Please Remove Your Masks: Courtrooms Confront the Pandemic 

Oregon and other states have begun holding jury trials again, leading to courtroom drama that may have nothing to do with the charges.

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June 3, 2020

California Court Administrator Lays Out Guide for Reopening Courts

California’s court administrator released its guide Wednesday for keeping court employees and the public safe as courthouses start to reopen after months of closures and scaled-down operations due to Covid-19. The 75-page handbook by the Judicial Council was crafted by the Pandemic Continuity of Operations Working Group, a team of 23 volunteer judges and head clerks representing courts from around the state.

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June 2, 2020

NACDL Statement of Principles and Report

While the medical profession is reporting evidence of a resurgence of the virus and warning that a second wave of deadly infection is expected for autumn 2020, the nation’s courts press forward with tentative reopening. It is imperative that leadership of the judiciary and other stakeholders understand the implications for the criminal legal system and adhere to core principles going forward.

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May 22, 2020

New Orders Launch Remote Civil Jury Trial Pilot Program 

Chief Justice Charles Canady issued an order late on May 21 creating a new pilot program for civil jury trials to be held using remote technology. It will explore ways to let one of the most central parts of the state justice system – jury trials – begin again using health-related distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

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May 18, 2020

Texas Tries a Pandemic First: Jury Trial by Zoom

With jury trials on hold throughout the United States because of the coronavirus pandemic, court officials in Texas are trying something new: let jurors hear a case through Zoom.

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May 12, 2020

Coronavirus: The Latest Court Closures And Restrictions

As courts across the country take measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, some are restricting access and altering their procedures.

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April 30, 2020

Cisco’s ‘Unprecedented’ Patent Trial to Test Video Capabilities

Centripetal Networks Inc., based in Herndon, Va., is alleging that Cisco infringed five of its network security patents, and seeking almost $500 million in damages. Their bench trial—to be conducted with Zoom’s video tools—is scheduled to start May 6 in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia.

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April 29, 2020

Findings On COVID-19 Impacts In Commercial Litigation Community To Be Revealed in Analysts’ Briefing

IMS ExpertServices announced it will reveal the top trends and findings from a recent survey of more than 400 commercial litigation industry stakeholders during a live Analysts’ Briefing on April 30, 2020. The briefing will include a live preview of the findings to be published in May from the survey, and discussion and context from seasoned industry analysts and experts.

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April 22, 2020

The Jury is Still Out on Zoom Trials 

Courts are moving online due to COVID-19. No one is sure if that’s a good thing.

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October 7, 2020

A Remote Juror Might Just Be a More Forthcoming Juror

Perkins Coie’s in-house trial consultant Karen Lisko says that most jurors participating in an Arizona mock virtual civil trial claimed that the format put them more at ease and allowed them to answer questions more candidly.

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September 21, 2020

Zoom asbestos trial nears verdict while another starts

The third virtual asbestos trial in Northern California starts Monday, while jurors are scheduled to resume deliberations in the second. This all follows the result of the first – a victory for defendant Honeywell, which convinced Alameda County Superior Court jurors a plaintiff who sought $70 million failed to prove his case.

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September 16, 2020

5 Things To Know As Florida Resumes Jury Trials

Want to try a case before a Floridy jury during the COVID-19 pandemic? Don't forget to bring a mask- and a hefty dose of patience.

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September 14, 2020

12 Tips For Presenting Evidence In Remote Trials

Evidentiary issues are crucial to any trial team, and often present both substantive and logistical hurdles.

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September 13, 2020

Trendspotter: Virtual Civil Jury Trials Are Definitely Divisive—and Likely Inevitable

Six months into the pandemic, trial-by-video-jury—at least in the civil context—is morphing from experiment to expectation. And while lawyers aren't totally sold on the concept, a growing chorus of judges is making clear that it may be the only way to keep their dockets moving.

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August 4, 2020

Kansas Courts to safely resume jury trials

The Kansas Supreme Court has issued administrative orders and guidance for courts to safely resume jury trials. The Kansas Supreme Court says it has issued two administrative orders and a mandate and guidance document to direct cost as they prepare to safely resume jury trials.

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August 2, 2020

Future of Our Courts

In the middle of March 2020, court buildings around the world began to close in response to the rapid spread of a newly identified coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (the “virus”). Within days, alternative ways of delivering court service were put in place in many jurisdictions. The uptake of various technologies, especially video, was accelerated in the justice systems of numerous countries. There remain some skeptics and critics, but in light of the experience during the crisis, there is certainly greater acceptance now than in February 2020—amongst lawyers, judges, officials, and court users—that judicial and court work might be undertaken very differently in years to come. Minds have been opened and changed over the past few months. Many assumptions have been swept aside.

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July 23, 2020

The Northern District of California’s courts will not be conducting any new jury trials—criminal or civil—until October in light of the uptick in coronavirus cases in the state, according to an order issued Thursday.

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July 23, 2020

Going to court online is supposed to be safer. For many, it's actually much worse

For many immigration cases, testimony from a witness -- a co-worker, a friend or relative -- able to come to court and vouch for you is critical for the defense of why you should be allowed to stay in the country. But with courts going online because of the coronavirus pandemic, defendants aren't afforded that help in some cases.

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July 20, 2020

Verdict Is in: Online Trials, Jury Selection Work in Broward

Broward Circuit has been testing its ability to conduct online jury selection, and the verdict is in. Despite some technical hiccups, a few moments of tedium and weak excuses not to participate, online jury trials appear to be a viable alternative to in-person proceedings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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July 10, 2020

Apple and Optis Go Face to Face Over Patent Jury Trial Safety

Apple is demanding that Eastern District Chief Judge Rodney Gilstrap postpone a patent infringement trial until October, with backing from a UT epidemiologist who says COVID-19 would pose an "extraordinary risk" for participants and the surrounding community. Optis Wireless says Apple has continually tried to delay trial over its refusal to pay reasonable royalties on LTE patents, and that chances are the pandemic will be more dangerous in October, not less.

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July 9, 2020

Mask-Wearing Prosecution Witnesses May Face Roadblocks

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant havoc on every aspect of our daily lives. The legal system is no exception. For months now, the majority of court hearings, both criminal and civil, have been postponed or canceled altogether.

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June 29, 2020

As masses of legal work shift online, trial lawyers are turning on their webcams and realizing their old courtroom skills are no longer enough. But recent remote proceedings are already showing that online trials can actually work — with the right considerations

FULL ARTICLE

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June 25, 2020

Judges Tout Covid for Opening Judiciary Up to Technology

Three high-level judges testified to Congress on Thursday that Covid-19 was the disruption needed to break with old norms and allow technology to open the judiciary to the public eye. 

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June 8, 2020

Recognizably a Courtroom’:
US Judiciary to Get a Virus-
Minded Makeover

Complete an online survey before heading to federal court, listing any signs of contact, symptoms or infection with the coronavirus. Permission to enter, should you qualify, will come with a QR code. You’ll need that, plus a mask and hand sanitizer, to get inside. 

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June 3, 2020

The Zoom boom: How videoconferencing tools are changing the legal profession

Long before social distancing entered the global lexicon, Zoom, the videoconferencing platform, touted its capabilities for lawyers.

In a 2015 blog post, the company suggested its platform could be used for remote depositions, a range of meetings and mediation, among other uses.

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May 27, 2020

Remote Jury Trials Are Possible, but Maybe Not the Best Idea

While remote jury trials are technically feasible and legally plausible, the twin risks of procedural injustice and rampant retrials reduce their appeal.

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May 21, 2020

Video-Chat Juries and the Future of Criminal Justice

Could a trial by one's peers still work when all one's peers are WFH? 

 

HERE’S A FUTURE scenario. Soon after you get your jury summons in the mail, you receive a SurveyMonkey link. Under oath—a checkbox and e-signature sufficed—you answer several questions not just about your personal background but also your Wi-Fi connectivity. Do you solemnly swear that you have home broadband?                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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May 13, 2020

Two platforms dominated in our poll of virtual court operations

Zoom? CourtCall? GoToMeeting? WebEx?

Our May Question of the Month asked judges which online platform they’ve been using most often to conduct court operations remotely during the coronavirus crisis.

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May 11, 2020

Could Zoom jury trials become the norm during the coronavirus pandemic?

In April, a Florida court held a bench trial over Zoom to decide a child abduction case under the Hague Convention. Later that month, the same state held a major virtual trial on the voting rights of convicted felons, with the public listening in by phone.

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April 30, 2020

‘Right Person at the Right Time': How a New Jersey Judge Tackled Court Tech Training

“Our world has changed and the world we had prior to the pandemic,” Mohammed said in a phone interview from his home. “It will not be the same world. It’s a new world and I think when we go back to physical courtrooms, people will be demanding advanced technology.”

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April 27, 2020

Judiciary Prepares for Gradual Reopening During COVID-19, but Tells Courts to Heed Local Officials _ Law.com

Guidelines given to federal courts Monday lay out how they might gradually reopen after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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April 15, 2020

Maintaining Legal Decorum in the 'New Normal'

There have been marked changes in how society functions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its “social distancing” practices. Out of necessity, we have adapted our behaviors both personally and professionally. 

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©2020 by Online Courtroom Project.