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By David André

In my last blog I discussed dynamic evidence that can grab a jury’s attention.  This month I’ll discuss the use of mobile videoconferencing in trial and compare it to the use of de bene esse videotaped depositions.

When it comes to de bene esse videotaped depositions, it’s nothing new — a witness is unable to attend the trial, so his or her deposition is videotaped and played back for the jury.  Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of being able to get that witness on video — perhaps they’re out of the country or too expensive – and an alternative option to a videotaped deposition is having the witness connect to the courtroom with a live video feed via a webcam and the Internet.  This way you can question the witness as if he were live in the courtroom.

Now, this is not always easy to accomplish, and it largely depends on the courtroom you’re in and the Internet connection available, but the right trial technician should be able to get it set up and running smoothly in a short period of time or let you know well before trial if it just isn’t possible.  You’ll want to test it days before the start of the trial so you know that it will work.  I’ve personally seen this technology used for a witness who had recent open heart surgery and was still bedridden.

We’ve also seen mobile videoconferencing used with military personnel and U.S. Embassy staff working abroad.  You might think to search for a videographer who lives and works overseas, but this exercise could prove difficult in some of the more remote parts of the world. And, of course, the cost of sending a videographer to the location of the witness may be cost-prohibitive for your case.

Considering the fact that most laptops, tablets, and smartphones are equipped with webcams nowadays, plus built-in video chatting software such as FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangout, perhaps it’s not surprising that mobile videoconferencing technology goes over so well with most juries.  Just consult with the Court to get the technology approved and be sure to give your technician the time he needs to run the necessary testing.   For more information on mobile videoconferencing, contact scheduling@planetdepos.com.

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