Tips for Remote Hearings

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Tips for Attending Remote Court Hearings

If you have an upcoming hearing in the Jefferson County Superior Court, you may be invited to attend remotely, using the “Zoom” video platform on your phone, tablet or computer. Follow the instructions provided to you by the court or your attorney, including specific information on accessing the video conference. 

 Appearing in a video conference is different than appearing in person. The court wants attorneys and litigants-including those representing themselves-to have as positive an interaction as possible. Here are some tips to help you present yourself respectively to the court over a video connection. These guidelines are meant to give you every advantage to feel comfortable in the virtual environment so you can best represent your position.  

Dress the part

Get dressed as you would if you were appearing in court in person. Certain fabrics with stripes or other patterns can appear wavy or distorted on video. If you are worried about this, stick to solid colors only. 

  • All parties should wear business or business casual clothing. Do not wear: shorts, bathing suits, halter tops, tank tops, hats, torn clothing, etc. Shirts or other types of clothing with obscene, profane, or alcohol or drug related pictures or messages should not be worn.  

Chose the right location 

If you’re using a phone, tablet or a notebook computer for the video conference, you may have some flexibility to choose a good room in a private setting for the hearing. 

  • Do not join the hearing from a car or moving vehicle, while walking, or doing any other activity. 
  • Do not hold the device during the hearing. Choose a spot where you can set up the camera on a table or shelf to stabilize the camera for better video. Set up your camera at eye level and about an arm’s length away. 
  • To avoid moving around on the video, which can be dizzy to other participants, sit in a chair that doesn’t swivel, or do not stand or pace during the hearing. 
  • DO NOT sit near obscene, profane or illegal material. 

Behave like you're in court 

Remember that the other people in the video conference will be able to see and hear you during the entire hearing. 

  • Keep your microphone muted and your camera turned off until your case is called, or when you do not need to respond to the court. Keeping your phone or computer audio muted will also help with general sound quality and keeping your camera turned off will limit confusion. 
  • Type your first and last name when entering the zoom conference. 
  • Speak slowly and clearing so that all parties can hear you. 
  • Do not smoke or vape. 
  • Do not eat. 
  • Have a pen and paper handy to take notes. 
  • Do not answer calls or texts during the hearing, even if you are muted. 
  • Do not speak to others in the room or walk away from the camera during the hearing. If you need a break, ask the judge for a recess. 
  • Do not record the proceedings. Audio or video recording of any part of a hearing or trial without the judge's permission can be a violation of court rules and regulations. An individual who attempts to record court room transactions without full disclosure to the court can be sanctioned and held in contempt of court.

Zoom: useful tips

  • Practice muting and unmuting your device prior to the hearing. If you are calling in, phones typically use *6 to mute and unmute. 
  • Test your Zoom setup by connecting with a friend or family member ahead of your hearing to make sure you can be heard and seen clearly. 
  • Join the hearing early in case the Zoom application needs to update before it can connect you. 
  • Wearing earphones and earbuds will help with the sound quality on Zoom. 
  • You may have to wait until the host admits you. The host knows you are there. 
  • Do not be in close proximity of someone logged into the same meeting and on a different device. This can result in high pitched sound distortion. 
  • If you get dropped from a meeting, sign in again with the same information used previously. 
  • Have the phone number for the court handy in case your connection fails. Technology doesn’t always work, so if your connection is dropped and you cannot get back into the hearing, be prepared to call and alert court staff as soon as possible. 
  • If you have a special need, such as the need for an interpreter, contact the court right away after learning of your remote hearing to give them time to assist you.