Duval County to conduct Florida’s 1st fully remote civil jury trial

4th Judicial Circuit clerk's office believes trial totally conducted over Zoom may result in 1st binding verdict in US

Duval County will host Florida's first jury trial over Zoom.
Duval County will host Florida's first jury trial over Zoom.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jury selection will begin at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in what will be the first fully remote civil jury trial in Florida and what should result in the first binding verdict from a remote trial in the United States.

The Fourth Judicial Circuit was chosen by the Florida Supreme Court to serve as one of five remote civil trial pilot projects throughout the state. The entire trial, from jury selection through a final verdict, will begin at 9 a.m. Monday and be held remotely utilizing the Zoom application.

“I would like to thank the clerk’s office, court IT staff, the North Florida Chapter of ABOTA and the Jacksonville legal community for all of their assistance with this project,” said Judge Bruce Anderson, who will preside at the trial. “Everyone involved has been working hard to develop the processes and procedures that will allow us to conduct a smooth and efficient remote jury trial. I especially appreciate all of our volunteers who served as jurors and attorneys in mock trials to make sure everything was in place to hold this first fully remote civil jury trial.”

Duval Clerk of Courts Ronnie Fussell also appreciated all involved in this pilot project.

“I am proud of all of the efforts made to pull off this historic trial,” Clerk Fussell said in a statement released by his office. “Our team has been working closely with the Court and ABOTA throughout the entire process. With so many moving parts, collaboration between everyone involved is key and I am happy with the results of their efforts. I look forward to a successful remote jury trial.”

The trial will be available for viewing on Courtroom View Network.

“We are excited to draw on our experience with remote proceedings to help the court evaluate new possibilities during this time of pandemic,” said Luis Freitas, COO of Courtroom Connect. “We have live streamed hundreds of Florida trials; we look forward to helping with this new approach.”

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