Hudson Valley courts begin video arraignments, bail hearings
Starting today, court proceedings in the Hudson Valley will have a whole new look as Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess courts begin holding arraignments and bail hearings over video.
The courts will use Skype for Business video conferencing for arraignments and bail hearings. "The defendant who is detained by the police department will be placed in front of a camera - a Skype program or similar program - and then will be seen by the judge who will be at a separate location," says Rockland District Attorney Thomas Walsh.
Each member of the court will be in a different location to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Last month, local arraignments were centralized at all county courthouses, but were still in person.
"This provides a safer environment in light of the coronavirus where there won't necessarily need to be any contact between people," says Rockland Senior Assistant District Attorney Nik Nikolakis.
According to the Rockland District Attorney's Office, crime in the county has been nearly cut in half since the state's PAUSE, or stay-at-home, order. It says domestic incidents are up slightly.
If successful, Walsh believes this technology could change the way courts handle future cases after the outbreak.
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