More Iowa Courts Returning To In-Person Format
This is one situation where I think it's safe to say many involved would rather just do the Zoom thing.
Court hearings in Iowa are moving forward, and despite an ongoing pandemic, the priority for many judges in Linn County is on the in-person version. The Cedar Rapids Gazette says Linn County judges have begun switching from phone and video proceedings, back to face-to-face meetings with litigants. The exception is when any of those litigants or those involved in a case have a "serious coronavirus concern."
It's not mandated by the Iowa Supreme Court or the 6th district court, and Johnson County, while also in that district, isn't doing it as much as Linn. One judge said it was a way to provide more "normalcy" in getting back to face-to-face proceedings.
Naturally, anyone entering the court buildings, including all involved in the proceedings, is required to wear a face covering. Judge Ian Thornhill has strong feelings about why it's important to have the most serious proceedings in person, while still allowing for a remote option in lesser cases. He says it lends more credibility to decisions when you can see the lawyers, defendants, and witnesses in person. In short, they want the most serious criminals to be forced to plead their case in person.
Each judge has discretion on face-to-face vs. remote because as of now, there is no mandated correct way. If credibility is of importance, one would think a uniform way of handling proceedings should be a priority. We will keep you updated on any news in this regard.