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Iowa Supreme Court Questions Constitutionality of 2-Way Video Conferencing in Court

October 31, 2014

The Sixth Amendment gives us the right to “be confronted with the witnesses against [us].” This is a rule that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld with few exceptions. The idea is that it is harder for someone to lie if they are facing both the court and the criminal defendant.  Therefore, witnesses testifying through video is rarely seen. However, the present question is “whether it would make a difference if a witness testified by two-way video, with witness and accused able to observe each other simultaneously.”

The Supreme Court of Iowa ruled last week, saying “it depends.” Their reasoning is that while it doesn’t fully comply with the constitution, it should be judged on a case-by-case basis using U.S. Supreme Court standards. Justice Edward Mansfield of the Iowa Supreme Court said that “despite its preferability over one-way transmission, [he] does not believe two-way video-conferencing is constitutionally equivalent to the face-to-face confrontations envisioned by the Sixth Amendment.”


Source: The Des Moines Register

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