Bloomberg Law: Zoom Courts Will Stick Around as Virus Forces Seismic Change. “Virtual court proceedings will probably outlive the Covid-19 pandemic, as even skeptical judges and lawyers say that they’ve made depositions, oral arguments, and jury selection much more efficient. Courts forced to accelerate years of innovation into weeks may never go back to how they did business before the pandemic, according to interviews with more than 30 state and federal judges, lawyers and court staff in 16 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The embrace of technology is a revolution for many courts that have historically resisted it.”
Law .com: ‘I Don’t Blame You, Man’: South Florida Lawyer Turns Heads by Wearing Full Hazmat Suit to Federal Court. “When Miami criminal defense attorney Samuel J. Rabin Jr. got out of his car and began walking down the street in a full hazmat suit, gloves, respirator mask and face shield, two police officers pulled up, rolled down their car window and said, ‘Is there something we should be worrying about?’ ‘I’ve got to go to court,’ Rabin told them.”
United States Courts: Judiciary Launches Redesigned PACER Website. “The Administrative Office of the U.S Courts on June 28 will launch a redesigned informational website for the Judiciary’s electronic court records system, known as PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). The new PACER website includes features that will make it easier for users to learn how to navigate the system, find what they are looking for more quickly, and understand the fee structure for downloading records. The update is also designed to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.”
ABC News: Social distanced justice? Courts restart trials, struggle to adapt to COVID-19 precautions. “As courts across the country begin to cautiously resume in-person hearings through the COVID-19 pandemic, judges are confronting a vexing challenge: how to safely convene jury trials at a time when health officials continue to caution against public gatherings.”
Lexology: Obituary Piracy Assessed. “Thomson v. Afterlife Network Inc., 2019 FC 545, is a Federal Court decision in which the Court considers the existence of copyright in obituaries used in an e-commerce context. DT was the representative plaintiff in a class action lawsuit claiming that posted obituaries and photographs, that were authored and taken by the plaintiff and other class members without their permission and thereby Afterlife infringed the copyright and the moral rights of the class members.” This was in Canada.
Digital Trends: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant’: Clooney, Microsoft unveil TrialWatch app. “CFJ’s TrialWatch program, which formally launched this year, aims to monitor trials around the world that pose a high risk of human rights violations: trials that oppress vulnerable groups, silence speech, or target political opponents. Through the program, a small group of trial lawyers and activists are trained to report on legal proceedings, boiling a trial down to a series of facts that can be easily recorded and ultimately compared.The new app augments the ability of TrialWatch’s monitors, making it easier to document happenings in a courtroom.”
EFF: Transparency Win: Federal Circuit Makes Briefs Immediately Available to the Public. “In a modest victory for public access, the Federal Circuit has changed its policies to allow the public to immediately access briefs. Previously, the court had marked briefs as ‘tendered’ and withheld them from the public pending review by the Clerk’s Office. That process sometimes took a number of days. EFF wrote a letter [PDF] asking the court to make briefs available as soon as they are filed. The court has now changed its policies to allow immediate access.”
New Zealand Herald: Google ‘thumbs its nose’ at New Zealand courts – lawyer. “Tech giant Google is under fire for ‘thumbing its nose’ at the courts by refusing to take down online content which breaches court orders. In high-profile cases covered by the Herald in recent months, Google NZ along with New Zealand’s major media outlets have been served with orders which suppress details and require the removal of content that infringes on privacy or fair trial rights.”
China.org.cn: Alibaba to help Chinese courts go on cloud. “Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has said it will supply its artificial intelligence technology to help thousands of Chinese courts share live-broadcasting and cloud services. At Alibaba’s computing conference on Thursday in Nanjing, east China’s Jiangsu Province, Alibaba Cloud, the cloud service arm of Alibaba, said it would team up with Jiangsu Xinshiyun Technology Co., Ltd. to improve an online cloud service platform to link up 10,000 courts.”
AP: Iowa justice blocks newspaper from reporting court records. “An Iowa Supreme Court justice has taken the unusual step of temporarily ordering the state’s largest newspaper not to publish the contents of court records legally obtained by one of its reporters. Press freedom advocates protested the order against the Des Moines Register and investigative reporter Clark Kauffman, and called on the full court Friday to immediately lift the stay.”
China Daily: Judicial case database goes online. “A judicial database, which aims to improve legal services for residents, was put online on Thursday, China’s top court said. The database, designed and operated by a legal research institute under the Supreme People’s Court, collects judicial data from 3,523 courts nationwide, including how many cases judges handle and what kind of cases a court hears most, and updates the information every five minutes, according to a statement from the top court.”
University of Virginia: Law Library Uncovers Hidden Legal Histories with Scottish Court of Session Digital Archive. “Thirty years after the University of Virginia School of Law acquired a trove of legal documents from Scotland’s Court of Session, the supreme legal court there, the Law School’s Arthur J. Morris Law Library is building a digital archive and reaching out to partners ‘across the pond’ to open these legal history materials to scholars and the public. When complete, the archive will provide users with access to the previously hidden histories of people living through an era of profound change.”
Ottawa Citizen: Google is linking secret, court-protected names – including victim IDs – to online coverage. “Google’s powerful search engine is defeating some court-ordered publication bans in Canada and undermining efforts to protect young offenders and victims. Computer experts believe it’s an unintended, ‘mind-boggling’ consequence of Google search algorithms.” Please read the entire story. It’s a bit terrifying.
The Register: UK attorney general plans crackdown on ‘trial by social media’. “The UK’s Attorney General is pondering whether to tighten up contempt of court laws and target Facebook and Twitter users who comment about live criminal trials. In a call for evidence made this morning, Jeremy Wright, QC, MP, asked for examples of court cases ‘in which social media has had an impact’ to be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office.”
All Africa: Rwanda: Digitilisation of Gacaca Archives to Be Completed By June 2018. “Work is being fast-tracked to ensure that the ongoing scanning and digitalisation of 63 million copies of Gacaca courts’s archives are completed in June next year. Dr Jean Damascène Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) said this Tuesday as officials from CNLG and Aegis Trust, the British NGO which campaigns to prevent genocide worldwide, gave journalists a guided tour of the stores where they are kept at the Rwanda National Police headquarters in Kacyiru.”