Texas court holds its first virtual jury trial

Polycount

Posts: 2,397   +541
Staff member

For one Texas court, that meant embracing the concept of a one-day virtual jury trial. This was a clever idea due to the crowded nature of many courtrooms (particularly when a jury is involved).

When you're trying to slow an infectious virus down, the last thing you want to do is force a large group of people to sit together in a small space for an extended period of time.

The Collin County trial in question took place five hours ago, and it focused on an insurance dispute. Lawyers on both sides of the case presented their arguments using videoconference software Zoom. The jury selection portion of the trial was streamed live on Judge Emily Miskel's YouTube channel, and you can watch the recording above.

This was a "summary jury trial," which gives lawyers the chance to present their arguments and receive a "non-binding verdict." Tomorrow, both parties are expected to "attend mediation" to attempt to reach a settlement, Judge Miskel explains.

Everything seemed to go relatively smoothly, and this virtual trial's apparent success might pave the way for other courts to conduct similar experiments amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 6,936   +5,219
While the idea is novel, the protections for the jury members may be a problem as well as other issues like the jury member stepping away from the screen, nodding off, playing games (if they have another computer, phone, etc) and I'm not entirely sure if it is constitutional when the accused cannot be in the same room as the jury, accusers, etc. This is one topic I have yet to see a good explanation other than the judge approved it ......
 

Godel

Posts: 221   +120
So there's no protection of the juror's identity?

Admittedly this was only a commercial dispute but I'd hope they do better if they extend this to criminal matters.
 

DrSuess

Posts: 16   +3
While the idea is novel, the protections for the jury members may be a problem as well as other issues like the jury member stepping away from the screen, nodding off, playing games (if they have another computer, phone, etc)
The main problem is that the jury could actually google information about the case in real time as the trial is going on seeing information that may be barred from being presented in open court.