Holding court proceedings online due to COVID-19 concerns is working in Michigan, with more than 500,000 hours of remote hearings logged since the option became available nearly four months ago, according to the Michigan Supreme Court.
It was late March when proceedings were first moved online, held via Zoom, for Michigan courts. Other states have since followed suit, officials said.
“Other states are copying Michigan’s example of tapping innovation and creativity to keep the doors of our justice system open,” Chief Justice Bridget McCormack stated in a release. “Achieving 500,000 hours of hearings is just the beginning because our response to the pandemic has created the opportunity to take a giant step forward toward our goals of accessible courts that are efficient and engaged with the local community.”
The Zoom proceedings are live-streamed to YouTube or a recording is posted immediately afterward. This allows for public access while limiting potential for disruption, officials said.
Since the program’s launch, the average weekly average has reportedly grown from about 10,000 hours in the first week to approximately 50,000 hours per week, statewide.
To find and view court proceedings, visit the Virtual Courtroom Directory at https://micourt.courts.michigan.gov/virtualcourtroomdirectory/.