A shout-out to the Judges, deputies, law clerks, court reporters, interpreters, marshals, and other courthouse personnel around the country who are trying as best they can to make in-person trials work. The first in-court criminal trial during the pandemic was just completed this week in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The bottom line is this -- as challenging as it is to make trials happen with juries and witnesses live in the courtroom, there is simply no substitute for being in person.
Any trial lawyer will tell you that reading a cold trial transcript is immensely different from experiencing a trial in the courtroom. The energy, the intensity, the drama -- none of it can be replicated via Zoom. In court, you can see and hear the expressions of witnesses, the Judge, and the jurors.
So courthouse personnel across the country, keep up the great work to allow safe, in-court trials to continue until the pandemic is behind us.
A trial court room at the Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn. As in person cases are set to begin new procedures have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the court room. This includes plexiglass dividing the judge’s bench, the witness stand, and the attorney’s seats. The jurors are spread around the courtroom with clearly marked seating arrangements to ensure social distancing. A witness in the jury box? Masked jurors in the gallery? And enough Plexiglass that everyone looks like they’ve been sent to the penalty box in a hockey game? Going to trial in person in the middle of a global pandemic is a challenge for everyone involved. Judge. Juror. Lawyer. Witness. Bailiff. Clerk. Court reporter. Party. You name it. It ain’t easy.