As the pandemic continues to affect the world, Donich Law has to use technology like video conferencing to attend remote hearings on behalf of their clients. Remote hearings must use technology that complies with the rules and procedures of the court and must be appropriately secure.
Court systems across the country have suspended or reduced in-person proceedings. Some hearings are now taking place through Zoom. This is an unprecedented step for the judiciary that is known for being slow in adopting new technology. However, critics are concerned that remote hearings give an unfair advantage to law firms that have good lighting and stable internet connections.
Another concern is the security flaw of Zoom including its default settings that don’t include meeting passwords. According to Zoom, they have fixed the problem. Meanwhile, supporters of remote hearings believe that going online is critical in protecting public health.
In San Francisco, the courthouse holds virtual hearings through Zoom with a live stream that is accessible to the public. In an interview, Judge Vince Chhabria said the online proceedings have a public education function and improves transparency. People who are currently detained have to spend more time in jail if hearings are postponed. Remote hearings do not require them to appear in person and risk their life and those of their family.
New York City has moved most of its judicial proceedings online but it is not accessible to the public. However, it can be watched through a screen at the courthouse. If there is lack of transparency, public trust may be eroded and result in the worst outcome for the defendant.
However, moving the justice system online has affected the decorum expected inside the courthouse. A judge in Florida has to warn lawyers to dress more appropriately after a male lawyer showed up shirtless and a female lawyer made an appearance while in bed.
Pandemic or not, if you are charged with a crime, you have the option to call Donich Law for legal representation. Regardless of whether court hearings are being done remotely or in-person, you still need a lawyer to protect your rights and prove your innocence in court.