TRIAL PRESENTATION SPECIALISTS: THE COVID COURTROOM
MGM Trial Services is Tapped to Support the First Multi-day Civil Jury Trial in Maryland Since the Covid-19 Shutdown
When the Maryland Judiciary announced that jury trials would resume in Mid-October, MGM Trial Services was tapped to support the very first multiday civil jury trial in Maryland, which took place in Baltimore County.
Why MGM Trial Services
Besides using state of the art display technology and and producing dynamic demonstrative exhibits for the past 20 years, MGM had the expertise and experience to configure the courtroom with an array of equipment and technological resources that would allow the trial presentation process to proceed smoothly and efficiently, regardless of the physical and visual limitations of this new Covid-19 courtroom.
What We Found: The New Covid-19 Courtroom.
The Covid-19 courtroom in Baltimore County had been reconfigured to minimize the transmission of the virus utilizing the following modifications:
1) The jury box was expanded into the well of the courtroom to form 3 rows of seating rather than 2 rows. The purpose was so that the jurors would have 6+ feet of lateral space between them.
2) Plexiglass sheets were then hung from the ceiling to isolate the jury rows from one another.
3) The witness stand was fitted with a 3 walled plexiglass shield.
4) The Bench, as well as the Clerk’s desk were fitted with plexiglass shields.
5) Additional tables were set up behind counsel’s table for the parties.
6) Gallery seating was reduced.
How MGM Overcame the Challenges Presented by the New Covid-19 Courtroom.
1. Overcoming the jurors ability to see the exhibits through the installed plexiglass barriers.
Ultimately, the solution was to dim the lights but MGM had a backup plan if dimming the lights proved to be an unacceptable solution. We had a supply on hand of small, personal LED monitors and mobile stands ready to set up for any or all of the jurors struggling to see the digital evidence presented on the screen.
2. Overcoming an expert witnesses’ reluctancy to testify in person.
Since 2017 MGM Trial Services has been using Zoom as the backbone for its UltraDep Remote deposition service. UltraDep Remote was developed to harness the power of mobile video conferencing in order facilitate a deposition in which a witness was unable to testify in person. Pre-Covid, attorneys used UltraDep Remote to take recorded, interactive multi-media video depositions of a witness at a distant location.
When the Covid-19 crisis shut down the courts, we already had the tools in place to assist attorneys with the display of digital evidence during video conference depositions. It’s this same technology, expertise and know-how that we rely upon to facilitate live, remote witness testimony in the courtroom.
We’re happy to say that throughout the 7-day trial, our experience, equipment, and technology allowed MGM to successfully provide the court, the jurors and our clients with a streamlined, robust, and adaptable presentation system that performed without incident in the very first multi-day, civil jury trial since the Corona Virus shut down the courts back in late March.
It’s safe to say that each jurisdiction, each courtroom, and each trial will present a different set of obstacles for trial presentation logistics. Our ability to bring the expertise and a wide array of solutions to each trial is paramount to our clients successfully trying their cases in the Covid-19 environment.
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