Authored by: Ollie Lammers
According to Law.com, California courts are trying to decide the future of courtroom proceedings and the technology it uses.
Some trial attorneys want to continue with remote access as the courts are struggling to catch up with the backlog of cases. Some court employees are sighting glitchy technology that hurts litigants and threatens the accuracy of transcripts.
Once COVID-19 hit and forced courtrooms to close-many turned to phone and video technology to keep up with essential proceedings moving remotely.
Most attorneys report they like remote appearances in hearings that only take a few minutes and can do without much warning. Litigants and witnesses also appreciate not having to miss work to travel to the courthouse.
Court reporters are reporting vastly different reasons why they do not like remote court proceedings. Many have reported they have had difficulties with people not knowing how to mute/unmute themselves, people having technical difficulties, and unable to understand what some people are saying.
For years, the California court reporters have successfully fought off legislation to expand the use of video and audio recordings, arguing the cost savings are limited and technology is flawed. Court reporters and others are concerned that new technology will mean a loss of jobs.
A California bill, SB241, would allow witnesses to testify remotely if both sides in a case agree or if one party successfully petitions a judge to do so. The bill would expand the electronic service of documents.
The bill will likely add provisions requiring court reporters to be in the courtroom during any remote proceeding.
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