Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Videoconferencing In the Works for South Florida Courts?

Here is one good way of not dying from toxic mold in the Broward Courthouse. Don't go.
Today's Herald is reporting that a South Florida appeals court is floating the idea of allowing witnesses to testify by video-conference as a way to save the state money on travel costs.

The West Palm Beach appeals court's recommendation was made as a footnote to an opinion in a case in which cash-strapped child-welfare administrators took testimony from a Maryland social worker over the telephone -- over the objections of a father fighting to retain custody of his child.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal on Wednesday reversed a spring 2008 ruling by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Moses Baker Jr. that declared a child, identified only as M.S., a ward of the state. Baker's decision finding the child's parents unfit relied heavily on telephone testimony from a Maryland child welfare worker, the panel wrote.

The judge also relied on written records from a Maryland child welfare agency in deciding the child was at risk if allowed to remain with his or her parents, the opinion states.

''The court . . . erred in permitting the Maryland social worker to testify by telephone,'' the appeal court said.

In a footnote to the four-page opinion, though, the panel suggested it might be time to consider changes to the state's rules of evidence to permit a judge to hear testimony by video. The appeals court panel recommended that a committee of lawyers and judges consider allowing such technology.
The rest of the story follows:

No comments:

Post a Comment