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NCJ Number: 50404 Find in a Library
Title: VIDEOTAPED TRIALS - A PRIMER
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:61  Issue:6  Dated:(DECEMBER/JANUARY 1978)  Pages:250-256
Author(s): J L MCCRYSTAL
Corporate Author: American Judicature Soc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: American Judicature Soc
Chicago, IL 60601-7401
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: ASPECTS OF PRERECORDED VIDEOTAPED TRIALS--TRIALS IN WHICH ALL TESTIMONY IS TAPED, THE TAPE IS EDITED BY THE JUDGE, AND THE EDITED TAPE IS THEN SHOWN TO THE JURY--ARE DISCUSSED BY THE JUDGE WHO INTRODUCED THE INNOVATION.
Abstract: THE DISCUSSION, WHICH IS PRESENTED IN A QUESTION-AND-ANSWER FORMAT, COVERS THE PROCEDURES FOLLOWED IN RECORDING AND EDITING TESTIMONY; THE ADVANTAGES OF A PRERECORDED TRIAL OVER A LIVE TRIAL; THE REACTIONS OF JUDGES, LAWYERS, AND JURORS TO PRERECORDED TRIALS; AND COSTS. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRERECORDED TRIAL AND A CONVENTIONAL ONE IS THAT THE TESTIMONY IS PRESENTED TO THE JURY BY VIDEOTAPE. THE IMPANELING OF THE JURY, THE VOIR DIRE, THE CLOSING ARGUMENTS, AND THE JUDGE'S INSTRUCTIONS ARE CONDUCTED CONVENTIONALLY. USUALLY ONLY THE TWO ATTORNEYS AND THE WITNESS ARE PRESENT WHEN TESTIMONY IS RECORDED. THE JUDGE DELETES ALL INADMISSIBLE MATERIAL FROM THE TAPE THAT IS SHOWN TO THE JURY. ONE ADVANTAGE OF THE PRERECORDED TRIAL IS THAT IT CAN BE CONDUCTED IN ONE-THIRD TO ONE-HALF LESS TIME THAN A LIVE TRIAL. ANOTHER ADVANTAGE IS THAT THE JURY NEVER HEARS INADMISSIBLE COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, OR ANSWERS; THE POSSIBILITY OF A MISTRIAL IS VIRTUALLY ELIMINATED. JUDGES CAN PRESIDE OVER OTHER TRIALS WHILE THE JURY WATCHES THE PRERECORDED TESTIMONY. TRIALS DO NOT HAVE TO BE POSTPONED OR CONTINUED BECAUSE PARTIES OR WITNESSES ARE NOT AVAILABLE. THE EDITED TAPE ELIMINATES MANY OF THE TIME-CONSUMING ELEMENTS OF TRIAL PROCEDURE (OBJECTIONS OF COUNSEL, SIDE BAR OR BENCH CONFERENCES, ETC.). THE ABILITY OF PRERECORDED TRIALS TO REDUCE COURT BACKLOGS HAS BEEN DEMONSTRATED IN THE COURTS OF TWO OHIO COUNTIES. JUDGES AND LAWYERS USUALLY DISLIKE THE IDEA OF PRERECORDED TRIALS INITIALLY, BUT ENDORSE THE IDEA ONCE THEY HAVE WORKED WITH IT. A SURVEY OF 400 JURORS IN PRERECORDED TRIALS FOUND THAT 65 PERCENT OF THE JURORS WOULD WANT A PRERECORDED TRIAL WERE THEY LITIGANTS IN SIMILAR CASES. THE JURORS SENSED NO LOSS OF DIGNITY OR DECORUM IN THE PRERECORDED TRIAL AND FELT THEY WERE ABLE TO JUDGE WITNESS' CREDIBILITY. THE COST OF VIDEOTAPED TESTIMONY AVERAGES $80 PER HOUR. IN THE AVERAGE PERSONAL INJURY CASE, COURT COSTS OF A VIDEOTAPE TRIAL MAY RUN HIGHER THAN THE COSTS FOR A CONVENTIONAL TRIAL. THE PRERECORDED TRIAL APPEARS TO HAVE A PLACE IN CRIMINAL AS WELL AS CIVIL PROCEEDINGS. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Ohio; Trial procedures
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