Zooming in on the possibility of COVID-era, remote jury trials
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Zooming in on the possibility of COVID-era, remote jury trials

| Feb 11, 2021 | Firm News

Recently, trial lawyer Mallory Sanzeri of Knight Nicastro MacKay, LLC provided insight into the continuing challenges that law firms face during a pandemic. While Zoom has created opportunities for remote depositions, court hearings, and other forms of virtual meetings, what does the future hold for jury trials?

Sanzeri believes that while an October Illinois Supreme Court ruling allowed for jury selection for civil trials via video conferencing, the proceedings and necessary parties should remain in the courtroom. Citing multiple examples, she finds that the issue comes down to a “cornerstone” of the justice system and cites several examples that validate the paramount importance of in-person participation.

The attorney also noted a recent survey that saw 78 percent of attorneys – both plaintiff and defense – unwilling to participate in a remote jury trial where juries were in another location while judges, lawyers, and witnesses were in the courtroom. Eighty-nine percent would not want to be part of a jury trial where everyone was at a remote location.

In the end, Sanzeri believes in preserving a “human element” with face-to-face interactions over images on a television or computer screen. From evidence viewing to document review, all involved parties’ physical presence in a courtroom is the best, if not the only venue to ensure justice.

The full article can be found in the January 2021 edition of YLDNews, the newsletter of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.