Video Hearings: The Choice ‘Between Efficiency and Rights’ – The Appeal
June 11, 2019

Many jurisdictions across the country use video instead of holding bail hearings in person, a practice that often leads to dire consequences.

After someone is arrested but not yet convicted of a crime, the next step is to appear before a judge, magistrate, or bail commissioner, who decides whether to release the person or require that they post bail in order to go free until the court date. But in Philadelphia, those arrested don’t physically appear in a courtroom during that crucial first hearing. Instead, they stay in the police booking center and their images and voices are sent to the judge, prosecutor, and public defender by video.

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