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NEWS

Short Update: US Courts straining to balance public health with public access

FT Admin - June 30, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Remote Justice, Court closures

The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to a public trial, but some courts have held arraignments and other pretrial hearings without the public watching or listening. In some cases, the public had no means of participating. In other cases, the defendant’s family members, friends or other interested residents weren’t aware how to gain access to special video feeds.  It’s unclear exactly how many people have been denied the ability to observe court proceedings, because it is difficult to track the thousands of local courts across the U.S. 

When cases of COVID-19 started mounting in March, many courts shut down over concerns about staff, attorneys, defendants, jurors, witnesses, media and members of the public all crowding together in courtrooms. Many courts later began conducting some proceedings remotely, using video feeds of defendants from jail and attorneys from their homes or offices. 

Read the full story here

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