TIM SKUBICK: Chief Justice shares legal silver lining of COVID-19 pandemic

Michigan

 LANSING, Mich, (WLNS) — It’s difficult to find a silver lining in the Covid pandemic in our state, but the Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court Bridget McCormack has found one, and she shared it with Six News’ capitol correspondent Tim Skubick.

When it became clear that it was unsafe for judges to hold public proceedings, the state’s highest court shut the courtrooms down. But, the high court did not shut down the pursuit of justice, and it turns out Michigan was ahead of the curve going into plan B … Zoom courts.

Michigan had a head start. Judges had their zoom licenses a whole year before the pandemic, and the software and hardware. It was a quick transition.

As a result, judges from around the state have conducted more than 2 million hours of Zoom testimony, trials, and other legal proceedings.

Chief Justice McCormack reports that the system not only works, but is more efficient and transparent, with many trials drawing thousands of viewers.

The high court may at some point re-open some of its courts, but in the meantime this pandemic has spawned a game changer that will remain.

Zoom courts have also changed the way courts have approached work, said Justice McCormack

“We’re acting more like entrepreneurs than lawyers.”

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