Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in courtroom procedures

East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been felt by nearly every single person living in the United States at one point since the start of it all back in March. Even if you never actually got the coronavirus yourself, you likely had to alter your usual routine in some way because of the pandemic. For a length of time, Connecticut’s judicial system was running on minimum operations with the majority of courthouses closed to the general public to adhere to the Governor’s statewide shutdown order. As the courthouses have begun to reopen and the judicial system has begun to increase its caseload, many people are wondering when and how criminal jury trials will proceed. In many jurisdictions, cases that do not involve juries, such as divorces and other civil cases, have been successfully settled using virtual means. Some have wondered if that is paving the way for the inevitable: virtual criminal jury trials.

Issues with Virtual Criminal Jury Trials

Many of a courthouse’s day-to-day operations are not conducive to a post-pandemic world -- at least not yet. Now that the majority of Connecticut’s courthouses are open for staff and visitors, one of the only things that officials are scrambling to figure out is what to do about criminal jury trials. The possibility of virtual criminal jury trials taking place in Connecticut is becoming increasingly larger with each passing day of the pandemic. It is clear that we have the technology and the capability of conducting virtual jury trials, but virtual jury trials come with issues and downfalls of their own, such as:

...

East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney

Since March, states across the country have implemented varying degrees of protective measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. In Connecticut, Governor Ned Lamont issued various executive orders shutting down many businesses across the state, including government operations, such as judicial matters. Connecticut courts have only been conducting what they consider to be Priority 1 business, such as certain criminal arraignments and emergency child custody matters.

Recently, a handbook was published on the guidelines and procedures to be followed for remote hearings conducted within the Connecticut judicial system. The goal of the courts is to gradually increase the amount of work that is taken on by court staff and attorneys through virtual means for the foreseeable future. While utilizing the technology that exists to conduct court business will help get through a backlog of cases, there have been concerns about issues that remote court hearings may pose.

...

identification, Hartford criminal defense attorneyEven if you have never been inside a courtroom for a criminal trial, you have probably seen dramatized versions in movies and on television. As such, you are likely familiar with the concept of a courtroom identification. While a witness—often the alleged victim or an eyewitness to the crime—is being questioned, he or she is asked by the district attorney a question along the lines of “Is the person who committed this offense present in the courtroom today?” If the response is affirmative, the witness is then asked to point out that individual for the record.

New Guidelines

Last week, the Connecticut Supreme Court handed down a ruling that places a limit on such in-court identifications. Going forward, the state must notify the court that a witness will be identifying a suspect in court for the first time, without having identified the suspect via a photo-lineup or other, non-suggestive manner prior to trial. The presiding judge is only permitted to allow a first-time identification in court if “there is no factual dispute as to the identity of the perpetrator, or the ability of the particular eyewitness to identify the defendant is not at issue.”

...
Logo Image 50 Founders Plaza
East Hartford, CT 06108
Phone: 860-290-8690
Fax: 860-290-8697
We are available by appointment during evening and weekend hours, if necessary.

Facebook   Twitter   Our Blog