Judge Emily Miskel from Collin County, Texas (USA), last Monday led the procedure for the formation of the jury, which will be held using Zoom. The court will have to hear a short version of the case, discuss it and deliver a verdict using only remote communication. The verdict is optional and the event itself is experimental.
The use of the Zoom platform and its analogues to perform the work of judges in the United States began from the very beginning of the epidemic in this country. The first was San Francisco-based Judge Vince Chkhabria, who has made significant progress in remote civil litigation. But he was also against the virtual jury trial, largely because of the complexity of the organization of such a process.
It is not in vain that the courts are held in special buildings and according to the established protocol, this allows you to focus on the work and details of the process. And with Zoom's trial jury selection, things went awry. After all, these are ordinary people who get in touch from their home. Someone forgot to charge the tablet, someone could not put the webcam at the right angle, the third had problems with his tie and shirt, and many complained about the quality of the connection.
Most of the judges support Chkhabriya and postponed cases requiring dialogues and personal contact between the parties to the future. On the other hand, no one can name the end of the epidemic, and the pressure on the judicial system is growing. Therefore, it was decided to hold an experimental jury in Texas - if they fail, the verdict will not be counted and the case will be postponed. The case itself is quite simple - it is a dispute about the amount of insurance, which does not cover damage from a storm in one of the state farms.