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:http://www.miamiherald.com/news/southflorida/story/980062.html