Trials are intended to allow people to resolve disputes without killing each other, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made trials themselves hazardous. With new variants of the virus lapping at our shores, how can we protect the public inside the courtroom and outside of it?

The answer is virtual trials. There are, of course, alternatives: Holding court in a stadium with all participants sitting a “safe” six feet apart; clearing out the courthouse to all but “essential” trial participants; erecting mazes of plexiglass in the courtroom; and masking, masking, masking to the point that everyone struggles to hear each other and to express or detect emotion.