‘Disruption We Needed’: Judiciary Called to Adopt Transparency, Accessibility Reforms Post-Pandemic

A panel of experts called for the federal judiciary to permanently adopt changes to proceedings forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, describing an opportunity to create a more transparent and accessible court system moving forward.

The House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on courts heard the testimony Thursday, where witnesses currently outside the federal judiciary urged Congress to take steps to help implement the permanent fixes, like authorizing a study of the effectiveness of accessibility measures and other policies adopted during the pandemic. A federal judge testifying on behalf of the Judicial Conference shied away from more dramatic proposals, like permanently allowing the livestreaming proceedings at the district court level, but agreed there were ways to improve the system.

Read the full article here.

Government Technology: Alabama County Embraces Virtual ‘Picnic Court’ Concept

Folks having cases heard lined up on the sidewalk for their turn under a blue canopy set up on the shady side of the courthouse. The docket kicked off at 8 a.m. with a long line stretching because of the social distancing requirements. By mid-morning the crowd had slackened off, as people waited in their cars to be called to appear.

“I think it’s gone well,” Circuit Clerk Deb Hill said. “Everyone seems to be patient and in a good mood. They are working with us.”

There were a few technological glitches as the signal faded out from time to time as folks talked into a computer screen.

“Can you see me now?” was a phrase Hayden oft repeated.

Read the full article here.

CNN: A man was sentenced to death via Zoom in Nigeria, sparking criticism from rights groups

Lagos (CNN) A man in Nigeria was sentenced to death via the popular video conferencing app Zoom this week, sparking condemnation from rights groups who described the ruling as inhumane.At a virtual court hearing on Monday, Olalekan Hameed was found guilty of murdering his mother’s employer in 2018 and was sentenced to death by hanging.A judge at a court in Lagos delivered the ruling to Hameed, who appeared remotely from prison via Zoom, along with his lawyer and prosecutors who also joined the hearing remotely, justice ministry spokesman Kayode Oyekanmi told CNN.Hameed, who denied the charge, remains in prison, Oyekanmi said. CNN was trying to reach the suspect and his lawyer for comment.The court held the session via Zoom to comply with the state’s social distancing guidelines to curb coronavirus.

Read the full article here.