In the Court's Discretion, a remote hearing may be conducted in certain proceedings using Zoom on a computer or smartphone

Waiver of In-Person Appearance

(Criminal Proceedings Only)

 In order to appear remotely you must understand the following rights:

  1. That the defendant has a right to be physically present in the courtroom for every substantive proceeding
  2. That a remote appearance means the defendant, the court and the other participants will participate via video or telephonic conferencing platforms
  3. That any remote appearance may be viewable by the public over the Internet or other method of streaming or broadcasting (if applicable)
  4. That the defendant and defense counsel may not be physically present together during the proceeding
  5. That the legal effect of the remote appearance will be the same as an in-person appearance, and
  6. That the defendant as discussed the waiver with counsel
  7. If parties have compelling reason and agree to conduct a hearing by phone or videoconference they may submit a request for remote hearing by contacting the Court's Judicial Clerk and request the assigned Judge grant a remote hearing.

How to join a remote court hearing

To attend court remotely you will need a desktop computer with a working camera and microphone or a smartphone.  You will need a stable internet connection or data.  You will also need to know your case number and location or courtroom of your hearing.  When a remote hearing is granted by the Judge the Court shall provide adequate notice to the parties and ensure that the parties are able to participate remotely.  Notice shall be provided to the parties in one of the following ways:

     1.  Court staff may telephone the parties before the hearing to obtain their email addresses.  The invitation to the Zoom hearing and password shall then be emailed to the parties.

     2.  If the party does not have an email address or the ability to join by video, the party shall provide a telephone number to join the meeting via telephone.

     3.  The Deputy Circuit Clerk shall provide notice to the participants by mail of the court proceeding, court date, time of hearing and the Zoom meeting ID.

     4.  Instruction with how to access Zoom shall be provided to the participants with the notice.

**Before your hearing you will need to install the zoom app on your computer or mobile device and create a Zoom account (free) in order to authenticate and be admitted into the hearing.  The host will be required to disable at scheduled meetings that do not require authentication.  This will help to prevent Zoombombing, and, authenticated users can be audited if acceptable use policy is breached.**

From a PC:  https://zoom.us

Android:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=us.zoom.videomeetings

Apple:  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/zoom-cloud-meetings/id546505307?platform=iphone

Apple:  https://apps.apple.com/us/app/zoom-cloud-meetings/id546505307?platform=ipad


You will join the virtual courtroom at the scheduled time by entering the meeting ID and password contained on your Notice of Remote Hearing email or mailer if joining by telephone.

     A.  If you are self-represented and have not received a link for the video conference prior to the scheduled time, it is your responsibility to contact the Judge's office to obtain the link.

     B.  It is your responsibility to keep your contact information current with the Circuit Clerk's office during the pendency of your case.

     C.  If you have an attorney it is your responsibility to contact your attorney to ensure you have the link to join the conference at the designated time.

     D.  All parties must be logged into the conference on time.

When you enter the virtual courtroom your video will automatically be on and your audio muted until the hearing begins.

Normal courtroom rules and demeanor apply.

If you do not have access to video

If you do not have access to a smart phone or other electronic device that would allow you to participate by video, you may participate by phone by dialing the local number provided in your Notice of Remote Hearing and inputting your meeting ID and password to join the meeting.  Please be advised you may be placed on hold for a period of time as the court concludes other matters that are before yours.

Access the Hearing

1.  Attorneys of record will receive a notice via email a few days prior to the video conference with access code instructions.  If you do not, contact Court Administration.

     2.  Attorneys are responsible for getting access information to the client and any witnesses.

     3.  Attorneys and clients are prohibited from posting or allowing other to post conference access code information on social media.  Organized groups look for such posting and then try to disrupt the hearing.  A violation of this directive could result in sanctions, including paying attorney fees, costs and damages incurred by others because of any delay.

     4.  If your client has family or friends who want to observe the hearing they can do so from the attorney's office or client's location.  Only in rare instances will the conference host recognize and permit a non-party to join the conference from another location.

The Hearing

 1.  Mute your microphone to limit distractions and feedback until it is your turn to speak.

     2.  Identify yourself prior to speaking.

     3.  Observers who would normally sit in the gallery may observe but may not interrupt the hearing and may not communicate with any witness to the hearing.

     4.  The party calling a witness during the video conference must insure that witness is familiar with how to access the conference and see exhibits.

     5.  Witnesses shall identify who is in the room with them during their testimony.

     6.  Non-party witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing until called to testify and will:

          A.  Remain in the videoconference "waiting room", OR

          B.  Be informed by call or text when to join the conference.

     7.  The court must be able to view the witness in order to judge credibility.  The burden is upon the proponent of that witness to insure that witness is in a location with the proper equipment and internet connection for that to occur.

     8.  In lieu of being visible to the court, a witness may testify by telephone if:

          A.  All parties so stipulate and agree to waive the issue on appeal, OR

          B.  The trial court orders testimony by telephone, as Supreme Court Rules may allow.

Exhibits

1.  Exhibits shall be exchanged prior to the hearing and emailed to the assigned judge's clerk.  Identify the case number, hearing date and which party is tendering which exhibit(s).  All attorneys should approve the joint exhibit email submission.

     2.  Following a uniform numbering system eliminates the need to add plaintif/defendant to the exhibit name and permits easy sorting and location within the exhibit file.  Therefore:

          A.  Exhibits shall be in PDF searchable form.

          B.  Each exhibit document name shall start with the exhibit number then a brief descriptor of the document.  Example:  Ex. 125-2016 US Income Tax Return

     3.  Joint exhibits are encouraged and are admitted into evidence by stipulation.

          A.  No further foundation is required which saved court time.

          B.  A party can still argue what if any weight to give to that joint exhibit.

          C.  The document name should start with "Joint Ex." then the exhibit number and a brief description of the document.  Ex.1--2018 Lease Document

     4.  Once an exhibit is admitted the Clerk will upload the admitted exhibit to the court file.

     5.  Attorneys are responsible for displaying exhibits during the hearing, so familiarize yourself with Zoom document sharing.

     6.  An alternative to electronic display, the parties agree to utilize a tabbed 3 ring binder containing paper copies of all exhibits plus an exhibit index.  Each attorney, witness and the court must have a binder.  The court reserves the right to order this method for sharing exhibits if warranted.

     7.  If only a portion of an exhibit is admitted, then it is the responsibility of the party offering the exhibit to redact and upload only the admitted portion of the exhibit to preserve the record.