May 19, 2020

The American Bar Association Journal recently reported on the prospect of virtual jury trials. Although no jury trials of this kind seem to have occurred yet in the U.S., there have been virtual bench trials (trial by a judge instead of a jury), and platforms like Zoom are becoming increasingly common for pretrial hearings. Some experts point to the growing backlog of pending jury trials as reason to believe that virtual jury trials are only a matter of time. Other experts say the constitutional rights of defendants combined with technological challenges make this type of trial all but impossible. Concerns include ensuring that trials are fully public, maintaining the right to confront all witnesses, and preserving jurors' rights and responsibilities.