1. For the time being, all docket calls and bench trials are being held in a “virtual” courtroom that has been created using Zoom software which will be published live on the court’s YouTube channel to satisfy the open courts provision of the constitution.
2. You have been sent an email containing your invitation to a docket matter you have scheduled. Please forward this email to all of your clients and witnesses and pro-se parties who need to join the hearing.
3. To join in, you do NOT need to come to the courthouse. You will need to join in with a device that has access to the internet, and has audio and video built in. A desktop with a webcam, any modern laptop, a tablet, or an I-phone or Android smart phone will do the trick. When you click on the link in the email, Zoom will install and connect you. If you have a device with two-way audio and video, you may ignore the phone numbers provided; you will automatically be connected through the internet with two-way audio and video. If you have a computer with no webcam, you can join by computer to see the other participants (but you should turn down the audio on your computer), and then join in with two-way audio by telephone (the email contains phone numbers to be used for audio connections).
4. After connecting, you may have to wait for awhile (just like in real court), but the judge will get to you.
5. We can handle full bench hearings with witnesses, documents and exhibits, and sworn testimony with a court reporter, all in Zoom! The documents will have to be provided to me before the hearing by email or by DropBox. The lawyers will have to have been diligent in e-filing all pleadings ahead of time. Each witness will need to appear by a device, and be invited with an email address. Last minute attorneys and witnesses can be added during the hearing. Zoom is powerful and flexible. It can also provide breakout rooms where attorneys and witnesses can go to chat privately while waiting, or where attorneys can go to negotiate.
6. When you schedule something on the docket with Cassie, make sure she has all needed email addresses and phone numbers.