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Short Update: US lawyers say virtual criminal jury trials threaten fundamental rights

FT Admin - June 25, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Remote Justice, Access to a lawyer

US lawyers raise concerns over the obstacles that virtual criminal jury trials present to a defendant’s rights. They stress that virtual trials limit a lawyer’s ability to confer with the defendant before and during the trial. For instance, defendants are unable to confer with their counsel at the same moment harmful evidence is presented. US Constitution also guarantees defendants’ right to be confronted with the witness against them, with the courts emphasising that no form of technology can replace physical confrontation. A virtual jury requires jurors to have access to technology and arrange for things like childcare. This will inevitably reduce the potential pool of jurors and will likely lead to imbalance among gender, race, and economic status. 

We publish information as it is reported to us. If you would like to make us aware of an inaccuracy or send us more information, please email us at [email protected].  

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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