Remote Witnesses In Washington County Arkansas Bench Trial
Witness logistics at trial can be a little bit like juggling a chainsaw, a torch and a two-edged knife… or maybe two of each at the same time.
It may be as simple as asking your witness to wake up a few minutes earlier to avoid traffic when driving to the courthouse. But more often than not, there are a myriad of factors in play that are entirely out of your control and can sometimes feel as if the world is conspiring against you to obliterate your carefully crafted presentation of evidence.
Your troubles are compounded when your witness has to travel further than across town to get to your location. Airline schedules, airport security, luggage, car/taxi service and hotels add complexity to an already stress-filled situation. Not to mention all of the costs that go along with that travel.
In a recent bench trial in Washington County Arkansas, our team was asked to tackle these issues by allowing two expert witnesses to appear at trial and testify via video-conference.
We routinely provide video-conferencing services for depositions held in our offices. But that is a controlled environment where we have complete command over our equipment and internet connection. Offering the same services in a remote location would typically be a challenge, but because of our technological expertise, things went very smoothly on our end.
We setup a laptop, projector, microphone and speakers so that the witness could see and hear us clearly and everyone in the courtroom could see and hear the witness clearly. Both witnesses were able to login to our video conferencing platform with very little technical assistance.
The first witness to appear via video conference came through perfectly. She was in her office at her desk with her own headphones and a microphone. The connection was clean and clear. One of our clients even turned to us and said, “I wish my job was as flawless as that.”
The second witness was not as seamless. This was primarily due to the fact that she was unable to leave her home on the day of her testimony which relegated her to residential internet and wireless network connectivity. Her audio and video were delayed and jumpy and we needed to make an adjustment to ensure a complete record. Fortunately, our system allowed her to call in using her landline/cell phone so that her audio came through clearly while the video followed over the internet connection.
Even though we encountered a few challenges, the end result was a happy court reporter, a happy client and a happy judge that were all able to see and hear the entirety of each of the expert witness’ testimony. On top of that, our client and her staff avoided the seemingly endless process of dealing with travel logistics. Not to mention the many billable hours that these expert witnesses would have incurred and billed for along with the expenses of travel.