INSIGHT: Virtual Criminal Jury Trials Threaten Fundamental Rights

by Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., Terence M. Grugan, and Izabella Babchinetskaya
June 23, 2020
Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to trial by a jury of their peers. As we discussed in Part 1 of this two-part series, a jury trial allows defendants and attorneys to speak to a group of laypeople, to tell a story, appeal to emotions, and persuade through a compelling presentation of evidence.  

In Part 1, we discussed the practical concerns of a virtual trial, Part 2 focuses on the constitutional issues surrounding a virtual criminal jury trial.

The right to counsel in a criminal case is more than just a right to a mouthpiece arguing points at a trial. The right to counsel embraces the right to communicate and work with counsel. Virtual trials will limit a lawyer’s ability to confer with the defendant before and during the trial.

Reprinted with permission from Bloomberg Law, June/2020

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