jury trial On Zoom (Complete With A Cat In The Background

Thanks to the “tip” from Minnesota District Court Judge Judge TJ Conley      DALLAS — The jurors appeared on screen from their living rooms, bedrooms and home offices. Juror 11 took notes as a sheriff’s deputy testified about giving a speeding ticket. Juror 18 occasionally looked away as a white cat scampered across her couch.They gathered on a video conference call Tuesday in what Texas court officials said is a national first — a virtual jury trial in a criminal case.“You’re here today for jury duty in a different way,” Judge Nicholas Chu said at the start of the trial. “That’s jury duty by Zoom.”The Travis County misdemeanor traffic case is the latest experiment in how to resume jury proceedings in a criminal justice system that’s been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic. It was greeted by lawyers and legal experts as a low-risk step forward, but one that could imperil defendants’ rights.Nationwide, the virus has put many court cases on indefinite hold and left some defendants in jail longer, possibly exposing them to outbreaks. It has forced judges to hold hearings via video conference and even led the Supreme Court to hold oral arguments by phone for the first time in its history.In Texas, fewer than 10 jury trials have been held since state courts resumed in-person proceedings in June, according to Megan LaVoie, a spokeswoman for the state judicial branch. She said Tuesday’s case was picked as the first criminal jury trial to be held virtually in the U.S. because both sides agreed and it was “ready to go.”The trial of Calli Kornblau, an Austin-area nurse charged with speeding in a construction zone, was broadcast live on YouTube. At some points, there were more than 1,000 people tuned in to hear testimony about traffic rules and the workings of police laser speed readers. For the rest of the story by the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/texas-court-holds-jury-trial-in-traffic-crime-case-over-zoom/2020/08/11/5d0c60a6-dc35-11ea-b4f1-25b762cdbbf4_story.html

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