Chicago Appleseed and Chicago Council of Lawyers gave testimony at an Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee Public Hearing yesterday, contributing to a discussion of the merits and drawbacks of conducting criminal proceedings via video. The Committee studies proposed rules and makes recommendations to the Illinois Supreme Court.
“Brian J. Towne, LaSalle County state’s attorney and second vice president of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association, told the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee reasons to support the proposal include advances in technology and elimination of the cost of transporting prisoners.
In LaSalle County, sheriff’s deputies sometimes transport inmates six to eight hours round-trip to court status hearings.
“Because hearings happen frequently and are often brief, videoconferencing may seem to be an ideal way to avoid unnecessary and costly in-person appearances. However, in-person appearances are in fact essential to effective representation. In-person hearings also save time and resources by limiting the need for multiple appearances.