AP: Russian hack brings changes, uncertainty to US court system

AP: Russian hack brings changes, uncertainty to US court system. “Trial lawyer Robert Fisher is handling one of America’s most prominent counterintelligence cases, defending an MIT scientist charged with secretly helping China. But how he’ll handle the logistics of the case could feel old school: Under new court rules, he’ll have to print out any highly sensitive documents and hand-deliver them to the courthouse. Until recently, even the most secretive material — about wiretaps, witnesses and national security concerns – could be filed electronically. But that changed after the massive Russian hacking campaign that breached the U.S. court system’s electronic case files and those of scores of other federal agencies and private companies.”

US Courts: Federal Courts Participate in Audio Livestream Pilot

US Courts: Federal Courts Participate in Audio Livestream Pilot. “Thirteen district courts around the country will livestream audio of select proceedings in civil cases of public interest next year as part of a two-year pilot program. Some of the courts already have begun making proceedings available via audio livestreams. The Northern District of Georgia on Dec. 7 streamed audio of a hearing on a presidential election-related lawsuit, which drew over 42,000 listeners. In September, the Eastern District of Missouri streamed audio of a status conference in the case of U.S. v. City of Ferguson. The remaining courts will be livestreaming by February 2021.”

Washington Post: Lawmakers are trying to create a database with free access to court records. Judges are fighting against it.

Washington Post: Lawmakers are trying to create a database with free access to court records. Judges are fighting against it.. “Leaders of the federal judiciary are working to block bipartisan legislation designed to create a national database of court records that would provide free access to case documents. Backers of the bill, who are pressing for a House vote in the coming days, envision a streamlined, user-friendly system that would allow citizens to search for court documents and dockets without having to pay. Under the current system, users pay 10 cents per page to view the public records through the service known as PACER, an acronym for Public Access to Court Electronic Records.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Threats to feds lead to more than 4 years in prison for man convicted in first pandemic jury trial

Chicago Sun-Times: Threats to feds lead to more than 4 years in prison for man convicted in first pandemic jury trial. “A jury convicted 40-year-old Robert Haas in August. His trial became a test run of sorts for new COVID-19 safety protocols at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse. Jurors were spread out beyond the traditional jury box, taking breaks and deliberating in a separate courtroom. Public seating was limited, and witnesses were asked to wipe down the witness stand after their testimony.”

ABA Journal: This Louisiana judge continues to innovate during the COVID-19 crisis

ABA Journal: This Louisiana judge continues to innovate during the COVID-19 crisis. “Judge Scott Schlegel’s history of utilizing technology in his Louisiana courtroom to make life easier for attorneys and members of the public has come in very handy during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the public health crisis forced the closure of Jefferson Parish courtrooms earlier this year, Schlegel contacted those he knows in the legal tech world for assistance in bringing to fruition a plan to remotely accept guilty pleas in criminal cases.”

The Donziger Exception: How SDNY’s First Covid-Age Criminal Trial Fell Apart (Courthouse News)

Courthouse News: The Donziger Exception: How SDNY’s First Covid-Age Criminal Trial Fell Apart. “Private lawyers tapped as prosecutors asked the defendant to foot the technology bill for holding the proceedings remotely. Witnesses from around the globe prepared to testify, and attorneys from across the country worried about how to best serve their client in New York. There would have been no jury. It was supposed to have been the first criminal trial in Manhattan Federal Court for the coronavirus age, but the plan fell apart — with the man on the dock complaining about a constitutional and public-health crisis in the making.”

StateTech Magazine: Tech Is Aiding Several Aspects of the Criminal Justice System During the Pandemic

StateTech Magazine: Tech Is Aiding Several Aspects of the Criminal Justice System During the Pandemic. “The coronavirus pandemic has upended all aspects of society, from how work gets done to social gatherings and how people greet one another. It has also posed a significant challenge to the criminal justice system, which has long relied on bringing people into close contact. That’s true for court proceedings, interviewing suspects and conducting parole checkups.”

North Carolina Judicial Branch: North Carolina Court System Launches Free, Online Document Preparation Tool – eCourts Guide & File

North Carolina Judicial Branch: North Carolina Court System Launches Free, Online Document Preparation Tool – eCourts Guide & File. “The North Carolina Judicial Branch has announced the launch of eCourts Guide & File, a new service that allows attorneys and the public to prepare court documents online in just a few easy steps. With free, 24/7 online access and easy-to-understand interview questions, Guide & File will eliminate barriers and simplify the legal process, particularly for the hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who come to court without an attorney every year.”

“I Had Hit The Lottery”: Inmates Desperate To Get Out Of Prisons Hit Hard By The Coronavirus Are Racing To Court (BuzzFeed News)

BuzzFeed News: “I Had Hit The Lottery”: Inmates Desperate To Get Out Of Prisons Hit Hard By The Coronavirus Are Racing To Court. “Judges are making medical assessments about how much of a threat COVID-19 poses to an individual inmate and then deciding how to balance that against the public safety risk of sending that person back into the community; inmates are usually released to home confinement or under the supervision of a probation officer. And judges are reaching different conclusions about how to measure an inmate’s risk of exposure in state and federal prisons, which have seen some of the worst clusters of COVID-19 cases nationwide.”

CNET: Going to court online is supposed to be safer. For many, it’s actually much worse

CNET: Going to court online is supposed to be safer. For many, it’s actually much worse. “For many immigration cases, testimony from a witness — a co-worker, a friend or relative — able to come to court and vouch for you is critical for the defense of why you should be allowed to stay in the country. But with courts going online because of the coronavirus pandemic, defendants aren’t afforded that help in some cases. Virtual courtrooms have taken away many of the resources that lawyers and defendants rely on, attorneys say, including basic necessities like being able to talk with each other in private and having an interpreter present for non-English speakers.”

The Advocate: LABI launches new website about Louisiana judges; see district maps and more

The Advocate: LABI launches new website about Louisiana judges; see district maps and more. “The website… says that it’s dedicated to making voters as informed about the judges they elect as they are about officials in other branches of government. People can use it to search for their judicial districts and to see which judges represent them at the Louisiana Supreme Court, court of appeal and district court levels.”

Reuters: Exploring the misdeeds of judges across America

Reuters: Exploring the misdeeds of judges across America. “In the first comprehensive accounting of judicial misconduct nationally, Reuters identified and reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which state or local judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct.” And now they’re in a database you can search.