From Court Zoom to Courtroom: Jury Trials Are Back in Session

Williamson County Is Hearing Cases in Person Once More

Smith & Vinson Law Firm returned to the courtroom this March and had what can only be described as a remarkable, and pivotal, day. Our team left with a win for our client and a reignited hope for a fast approaching return to life as we once knew it.

In one of the first two Williamson County jury trials to occur in-person since they were effectively halted in March of last year, Attorney Jarrod Smith defended a client against a DWI charge. Our client was found not guilty.

Prior to this case, our firm had been out of the courtroom for a year. Our work transitioned to a virtual landscape, but this setting wasn’t appropriate for all hearings.

While bench trials could be settled over Zoom or Microsoft Teams with ease, there are cases that rely on in-person hearings. Some trials necessitate a physical presence in order to see and evaluate the witnesses and evidence.

Though courts are back, they are not the same. The jury summons process has become completely virtual. Jury selection has changed too, now taking place in a large room that allows all 60 potential jurors to sit in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Witnesses sit off to the side during hearings, rather than in the usual witness box. Jurors are scattered throughout the gallery, and the room is riddled with Plexiglas.

Travis County is expected to follow Williamson’s lead and resume in-person jury trials soon. When it does, our team will be ready to return to the courtroom and represent our clients just like we have before.

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