Defendants are waiting behind a screen to learn their fate in their criminal proceedings. This Note sounds the alarm that having incarcerated defendants appear virtually for their criminal proceedings will lead the criminal justice system further down a path of mass incarceration and destruction. This Note demonstrates and argues that there are no benefits for having an incarcerated defendant appear virtually because there are no real benefits to the defendant themselves. Courts further try to argue that video appearances are efficient as they save time and money but as this Note shows those arguments are misleading and miss the point of who the court system should work for and protect. This Note offers three solutions to combat this problem 1) release all defendant pre-trial so that defendants can appear in-person 2) have incarcerated defendants bring an Equal Protection Clause claim against their state of prosecution for being treated differently than defendants who are not in custody pre-trial and 3) if video appearances do not stop then courts must get the informed consent of incarcerated defendants to appear virtually through a Rule 11 type colloquy.
Behind the Screen: Examining the Human Consequences and Constitutional Ramifications of the Virtual Criminal Defendant,
29 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 245
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.wlu.edu/crsj/vol29/iss3/7