2020 Court Affiliates Conference

June 9, 2020

The Center for Legal & Court Technology (CLCT) is pleased to report that the 2020 CLCT Court Affiliates Conference, hosted virtually by the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida, was a resounding success. The conference, Courtroom Video in the Age of the Pandemic: Trials, Tribulations, and Wonders, was held remotely via videoconferencing June 1–2. The Ninth Circuit includes the most technologically advanced state trial courtroom in the nation, and was one of two founding CLCT Court Affiliates.

In his keynote address, Texas Administrative Director of the Office of Court Administration David W. Slayton gave a timely presentation titled “The Role of Video Technology in the Pandemic Era.” Poignantly, Mr. Slayton confronted the participants with the idea that, although being forced to work remotely by the global pandemic may not be the challenge that the courts wanted, it may be the one they needed to progress technologically.

Several Court Administrators and Judges in attendance shared challenges that courts face in conducting virtual hearings, including how to present evidence, how to create a virtual court record, how to conduct the hearings, and data regarding virtual hearing outcomes. The participants agreed that experience with remote appearances and virtual hearings and trials will change the courts permanently, and that many courts will use some form of remote hearings even after the pandemic.

Presenters also discussed current and potential future innovations and technology challenges for courts—including a presentation from Australia about Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based court record transcription and the potential use of video analytics to deliver emotional insights about witnesses, moving toward live, automated, lie detection. CLCT’s own Daniel Shin demonstrated how users can now create live “deepfakes.” As he spoke, an apparently real woman delivered his comments on screen in an appropriate voice with full facial movements, illustrating the evidentiary issues we will soon face.

After the close of the formal conference, Professors Fred Lederer and Nicolas Vermeys (visiting professor at William & Mary and Associate Dean of the University of Montreal Law Faculty) presented an optional session on the effects of the AI ecosystem on the legal system.

The 2021 Court Affiliates Conference is tentatively scheduled for June 9–10, 2021 and will be hosted by the Tenth Judicial District of Kansas.