top of page


Trial By Zoom

May 21, 2020

Share to:

<p style="text-align: justify;">Now that much of the world has adjusted to social distancing guidelines,and shifted to operating through video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, the elephant in the legal room is how to safely conduct a jury trial in this new environment.  Typically, the jury process involves hundreds of individuals closely seated in room, waiting to be selected for questioning and, if selected for a jury, seated together for days, if not weeks, listening to live testimony and the presentation of each party’s case.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">As Court’s have recently begun to conduct hearings, and attorney only conferences, remotely via video conference, one Court in Texas is experimenting with a remote jury trial, allowing the jurors to participate by Zoom video conference.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">This week, Collin County District Court in Texas picked a jury to hear a civil case by videoconference, in what officials believe is the first virtual jury trial to be held nationally amid the COVID-19 crisis.  With the consent of the parties, more than two dozen potential jurors logged in by smartphone, laptop and tablet for jury selection.  The trial is a summary jury trial (an abbreviated trial) and will be non-binding.   The parties view this as an opportunity to see how their case could fare before a jury in a full-blown trial, and will sit down for mediation and try to negotiate a settlement on afterward.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Discussing the novel jury trial, Texas Supreme court Chief Justice, commented that “You can’t drag people down to the courthouse and make them sit together for days at a time.  It’s just too dangerous.”  And Texas is not the only state to consider Zoom trials.  The Indiana Supreme Court said that once jury trials resume in the state, parties in civil cases can agree to conduct them remotely.   Also, in Arizona, the state’s top court has said it will also allow jurors to be selected remotely.</p>
The legal world will be tuned in to see if the Zoom trial can be successful.

Thanks to George Parpas for his contribution to this post.  Please email <a href="">Georgia Coats</a> with any questions.


bottom of page