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Videoconference Proceedings – High/Low Options

  • Published: January 24, 2022

It bears repeating to the general public at-large that the Texas Supreme Court has renewed it Emergency Order to allow Texas courts to use videoconferencing technology at their discretion.

In our view, remote proceedings present the lowest risk of infection to the general public participating as jurors, as well as all other judicial and litigant persons. But arguably the highest risk of juror mis-understanding due to clumsy presentation of evidence.

Attorney preparation, practice, and graceful presentation are the order of the day for successful trial attorneys. In-person trials are occurring in our venues, but public health protocols are normally rigorously enforced, and adhered to, in our experience. Preparing clients for these extra steps can make a difference to the outcome.  When done properly videoconferencing can literally force jurors to focus on the most high-value evidence, which could carry the day despite a weakness that somehow escapes jury understanding.

The Emergency Order is repeated below from the Supreme Court’s email to all attorneys.

The Texas Supreme Court issued its 47th Emergency Order of the COVID-19 pandemic on January 19. In it, the court renews and amends its 45th Emergency Order to:

  • Permit all Texas courts to use video and teleconferencing methods in civil and criminal cases through April 1, 2022;
  • Allow justice and municipal courts to suspend or modify trial-related and pretrial hearing deadlines through March 1, 2022;
  • Urge justice and municipal courts to “move swiftly to return to regular pretrial and trial proceedings as soon as reasonably feasible before March 1, 2022;”
  • Continue the authority of courts to modify certain procedures and deadlines in child-protection cases; and
  • Allow courts to continue to use reasonable efforts to hold proceedings remotely with certain exceptions or actions required.

The Texas Supreme Court has a new subscription service to receive court orders and other news directly from the court. Sign up here.

Gregory W. Marcum

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