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The Legal Permissibility of a Jury Trial by Videoconference

Shammas, Michael and Pressman, Michael, The Legal Permissibility of a Jury Trial by Videoconference (April 1, 2021). Forthcoming, ABA Publication on Online Court Procedures, Available at SSRN: or

“The coronavirus pandemic has uprooted life as we know it. No institution is immune. As a result of the crisis, trials in every state (jury and bench, criminal and civil) have been continued until later dates. But must they be continued? Can they be constitutionally conducted over remote videoconferencing platforms like Zoom? And can they be conducted digitally even absent the consent of one (or both) parties? While due process concerns might render a digital jury trial unconstitutional in criminal cases, applying a balancing test to our current public health crisis weighs in favor of allowing videoconference jury trials in civil cases. In fact, a civil jury trial by Zoom might not only be permissible; it might also be necessary to actualize the Seventh Amendment’s protections, especially if the COVID-19 pandemic continues longer than expected. If courts allow digital jury trials, the risk of certain pitfalls—such as the possibility of someone recording the proceedings—must be clearly communicated to the parties in advance. This paper will appear in an ABA book on online court procedures, set to be published at some point in the future…”

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