There’s been a lot of chatter on GovLoop recently about government moving to video-conferencing instead of in-person meetings. Though your office may be having trouble making the move, Missouri’s 4th Judicial Circuit has installed five hi-definition video cameras which will be used mostly for juvenile justice matters, saving travel and scheduling expenses. The system may soon be used for criminal proceedings as well. However, though it’s currently limited in use, Nodaway County (where the system was launched) Circuit Clerk Elaine Wilson had this to say:
“It’s still new to us that not a lot of other agencies are aware we have this unit and we’re able to do this … I’m sure once this catches on and people find out about it, we’ll be using it quite often.”
There are a couple of issues with the system, however, including the inability to record video and the inability to remotely control the camera by the judge on the defendant. As such, to have the shot adjusted, a person must manually move the camera.
Is it fair to the defendant to use video-conferencing, or should defendants have the right to speak with a judge in-person?