This is what online legal proceedings look like across America:
The court system is turned upside down during the current pandemic, many legal offices brainstorming methods to keep in touch with clients, continue cases, and offer legal assistance from a safe social distance. A solution to the courtroom dilemma is not concrete; many legal offices opening their doors for only the most essential cases. How far away are we from a normal legal process for the majority of cases? The evolving solution lies in virtual and online court hearings. With the state of Texas leading the way for implementing technology for hearings, many state courts have followed suit including Oklahoma, Indiana and New York to name a few. Many of us are curious what a Zoom courtroom might look like. According to the Texas Supreme Court, Zoom hearings have been authorized through July and several local firm websites offer guidelines for parties involved. Zoom calls will be initiated by Judges and evidence can be emailed in to court officials. In Indiana, circuit courts have limited their court hearings to strictly emergency cases relying on a variety of online systems for case hearings and processes including Microsoft Teams. DeBalk County in Indiana has left several of their hearings open to the public as to encourage interested parties to learn about the cutting edge software. New York state follows in Indiana’s footsteps authorizing virtual courts in April. In accordance with state protocols, New York courts have limited their cases to those they consider to be essential, and have performed their hearings via skype. So, what does virtual court look like for the state of Oklahoma? Oklahoma attorneys are following the decision to perform virtual hearings using online platforms, like BlueJeans. However, Zoom is the choice among the legal community. Oklahoma courts are getting ready to open, but it appears the use of virtual or online will continue to be utilized by the court. The Oklahoma Bar Association is continuing to monitor the situation and give updated information to citizens and attorneys about courtroom procedures and guidelines.
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