Zoom Jury Trials: The Inability to Physically Confront Witnesses Violates a Criminal Defendant’s Right to Confrontation

The COVID-19 pandemic forever changed the United States’ justice system. During the pandemic, courts across the country rapidly incorporated remote technology into the courtroom as a way to keep the justice system moving. Incorporating remote technology in the courtroom, however, has put criminal defendants’ Six Amendment right to confrontation at risk. This Article argues that Zoom jury trials in the criminal justice system are unconstitutional and infringe on a criminal defendant’s right to confrontation. This Article analyzes years of Supreme Court precedent, as well as conflicting decisions out of the United States Circuit Courts of Appeal, to assess the constitutionality of a fully remote criminal jury trial, a topic on which there has been little scholarly discussion.

This Article highlights three main concerns with introducing Zoom as a permanent feature of our criminal justice system including issues with reliability, non-verbal communication, and witness credibility.