What do you do if you have to appear in court but you are not in the state? You appear via Skype, of course.
In a Gallatin County court hearing today, when her case was called, a defense attorney marched up to the judge’s bench and placed her defendant on the bench in front of him in the form of her open laptop. The man, who was in Provo, Utah, was appearing via Skype — the internet video communication system.
Upon determining the defendant could see and hear him, the judge first asked the man to remove his hat.
“This is a first for this court,” the seemingly bemused judge said.
He then invited the defense attorney to stand behind him so she could see her client. He also asked the prosecutor if he wanted to see the man.
“No,” the prosecutor tersely responded eliciting titters from the gallery. But then he thought better of it and accepted the judge’s offer.
As the prosecutor peered over the judge’s right shoulder, defense on his left, the man pleaded not guilty to issuing a bad check.
After the hearing concluded, the defense attorney, walking out of court with her computer breathed a heavy sigh. Perhaps she was relieved the hearing went off without a hitch.
The judge — the most veteran of Gallatin County’s three district judges — was suitably impressed with the technology.
“You know, if we had one of these all the time, I could just stay home,” he said grinning broadly.