Courts have been embracing video conferencing since the pandemic began, but in what’s likely a pandemic first, the Collin County District Court in Texas will be the first to hold a jury trial over Zoom.
The one-day insurance dispute trial will be held today and streamed over YouTube via 470th District Court Judge Emily Miskel’s channel. In an interview with local news outlet NBCDFW, Miskel described the Zoom jury trial as a way to “test the technology.”
The case will be in an abbreviated format—a so-called summary jury trial, according to Reuters. Lawyers will make a condensed version of their case over Zoom to jurors, who will then deliver a non-binding verdict. The parties involved then have the choice of negotiating a settlement, or they can decide to move on to a full-blown jury trial. The shortened format makes this particular case a good candidate for testing whether remotely held jury trials are viable during the global pandemic.