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78 Tul. L. Rev. 1089 (2003-2004)
Criminal Justice and Videoconferencing Technology: The Remote Defendant

handle is hein.journals/tulr78 and id is 1109 raw text is: Criminal Justice and Videoconferencing
Technology: The Remote Defendant
Anne Bowen Poulin'
This Article addresses the increasing use of videoconferencing to avoid bringing criminal
defendants to court for certain proceedings. The use of technology to replace in-person
appearances raises concerns on several levels. Unfortunately, courts use videoconferencing
technology to bring criminal defendants to court without carefully evaluating the impact of that
practice on the quality ofjustce.
This Artcle evaluates the implications of using technology to have defendants appear
through videoconferencing and argues against the practice. It brings to bear the literature from
other fields, particularly communications and social psychology That body of literature
suggests that videoconferencing may have a negative impact on the way the defendant is
perceived by those in court as well as the representation the defendant receives and the way in
which the defendant experiences the criminal justice system. The author argues that courts
should not extend their reliance on videoconferencing further and instead must undertake
studies to explore the impact of the technology in criminal proceedings. In addition, the author
advocates that the courts take steps to ameliorate the negative impact of videoconferencing
through design of videoconferencing systems and training of those who participate in
videoconference proceedings. Finally, the author suggests that courts with videoconferencing
equipment make it available for communication between incarcerated defendants and their
attorneys, fostering better representation.
I.    INTRODUCTION      ........................................................................... 1091
II.   THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN CRIVNAL CASES ....................... 1094
A .    The  Context ...................................................................... 1095
B      The Perceived Benefits .................................................... 1098
C     The LegalArguments ....................................................... 1102
D      The  Challenge ................................................................... 1104
III.  THE LIMITATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY .......................................... 1104
A.     The Quality of the Equipment ......................................... 1105
B.     Technological Constaints ................................................ 1106
1.    C am  era  Shots  ........................................................... 1108
2.    N onverbal Cues ........................................................ 1110
3.    E ye  C ontact .............................................................. 1111
C     Location ofDefense Counsel .......................................... 1111
D     Exhibits, Forms, and Documents ..................................... 1112
E.     ViewerExpectations ......................................................... 1112
*     Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law. I am grateful to all my
colleagues for their helpful comments, particularly Louis Sirico. I am also indebted to Julie
Boncarosky and Graham Simmons for their exceptional research assistance, and to Villanova
University School of Law for its generous support.
1089

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