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Remote Jury Trials During and After the Pandemic: Constitutional and Practical Concerns - Part 2

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 91 minutes
Recorded Date: June 03, 2021
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  • Examine the roles and concerns of “participants” in remote trials –prosecution, defense, and judge
  • Understand how disadvantaged populations might participate in remote trials as jurors, witnesses or observers and how the public right of access might be accommodated
  • Consider how to deal with recalcitrant in-person jurors or witnesses and reach out to disadvantage communities which might have limited or no access to necessary technology
  • Consider what might be the “new normal” after the pandemic for criminal and civil trials
Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Recorded: June 3, 2021


In Part One of this program we looked at constitutional concerns arising out of remote jury trials. Here, we will consider practical ones involving the participants in remote jury trials, how to secure community participation, and what the post-pandemic jury system might be.

This program was recorded on June 3rd, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Hon. Debra Nance

Judge, Criminal/Civil Presiding
46th Judicial District, State of Michigan

Judge Debra Nance was elected to the bench on November 6, 2012. She began a six-year term as Judge of the 46th District Court on January 1, 2013. She was re-elected, by a land-slide, to her second term on November 6, 2018 and began her second six-year term on January 1, 2019. Judge Nance received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Detroit. She began her career as an Assistant Personnel Superintendent at the Hudson’s Northland Store before serving as Personnel Superintendent for several other Hudson’s Stores throughout Michigan. She also worked in various Human Resource Management capacities in the automotive industry prior to launching her legal career.

Judge Nance began her career as an attorney after obtaining a law degree from Wayne State University Law School. She gained invaluable experience while working in the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Domestic Violence Unit and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Child & Family Abuse Bureau. After graduating, she worked on assignment to the Office of the General Counsel at Ford Motor Company. In 2001, she went into private practice at a mid-sized law firm where she developed a successful litigation practice in the areas of Civil Litigation, Probate Litigation, Juvenile & Family Litigation and Adoption Law.

In service to the community, Judge Nance volunteered in numerous projects prior to taking the bench. She volunteered at free legal aid clinics. She worked to educate our youth by participating in the 50th Anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Project in Southfield Public Schools. She has supported organizations such as the Women's Survival Center of Oakland County and Alternatives for Girls coming out of foster care. She worked as an “Election Protection Attorney” in a number of elections to ensure the fairness and integrity of the election process. Judge Nance also worked as a Volunteer Attorney Mediator for small claims, consumer and commercial disputes, and landlord/tenant matters in District Court. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Nance served on the Michigan State Bar Character & Fitness Committee which reviews the suitability of law graduates seeking to obtain a license to practice in Michigan.

Since taking the bench, Judge Nance developed and presented Careers in the Courtroom to encourage elementary and high school students to pursue careers as defense attorneys, prosecutors, civil attorneys and judges. The program also introduces students to the importance of jury service. In addition, for adults, Judge Nance has designed and presented How to Prepare for Your Day in Court and Tips for Landlords and Tenants which she shares with neighborhood/condo associations, church groups and veteran’s groups. Judge Nance visits churches, synagogues, schools, neighborhood/condo associations, scholarship programs, graduations, etc. In community forums and townhalls, she has spoken on topics such as Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration and Breaking the Silence on Domestic Violence. Judge Nance conceived and presented the City of Southfield’s first Opioid Crisis Townhall in cooperation with fire, police, and other elected officials. In addition, Judge Nance was instrumental in developing From Expungement to Entrepreneurship: The Pipeline to Possibilities to help ‘returning citizens’ start small community based businesses. Judge Nance has been featured, proudly, as Alumni of the Month by the Wayne State University Law School. In 2018 Judge Nance was invited to Host a weekly radio show, Your Best Chance with Judge Nance, designed to provide the listener with access to justice by increasing the public’s understanding of the criminal justice system, the court process and the people who serve there. The show broadcast throughout the State of Michigan.

Currently a member of the Michigan State Bar Association, the Michigan District Judges Association, the Oakland County District Judges Association, The Association of Black Judges of Michigan, The National Association of Women Judges, the National Bar Association Judicial Council, the Wolverine Bar Association, the Straker Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan and the Black Women Lawyers Association of Michigan.

In service to the legal community, Judge Nance has lectured to lawyers at the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and new lawyers at the Oakland County Bar Association. She has also lectured to students at Cooley Law and the University of Michigan Law School. She served as a Board Member for the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, served on the Oakland County Bar Association Judicial Candidates Committee, and was a long-serving member of the Adoption subcommittee of the Family Law Division of the Michigan State Bar Association. Judge Nance was elected by her peers to serve as President of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan for 2016-2017.

Judge Nance has lived in Southfield for over 30 years. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, and a parish member at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church in Beverly Hills and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Detroit. Judge Debra Nance remains active in the community and looks forward to a term of continuing service.

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Hon. Donald L. Graham

Senior Judge
United States District Court, Southern District of Florida

Donald L. Graham is an Article III federal judge on senior status for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He joined the court in 1991 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. Prior to appointment, Graham was a private practice attorney. Graham took senior status on December 15, 2013.

A native of North Carolina, Graham gradauted from West Virginia State College with his bachelor's degree in 1971 and his J.D. from the Ohio State University College of Law in 1974.

After serving on active duty in the US Army, Graham joined the US Attorney's Office as an Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 1979 to 1984. Graham spent the rest of his pre-judicial legal career as a private practice attorney from 1984 to 1991. Graham also served as a part-time faculty member at the University of Maryland-College Park from 1975 to 1977.

On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Connie Mack III, Graham was nominated to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida by President George H.W. Bush on June 17, 1991, to a seat vacated by Sidney Aronovitz. Graham was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 12, 1991, and received commission on September 16, 1991. Graham assumed senior status on December 15, 2013, after 22 years on the bench.

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Hon. Pamela S. Gates

Maricopa County Superior Court

Pamela Gates is a judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona. Her current term ends on January 6, 2025.

Gates received an undergraduate degree from Drake University and a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law.

Prior to her appointment to the court in 2009, Gates was a partner at Bryan Cave LLP and an attorney at O'Connor Cavanagh. She also interned with the United States attorney's office in 1994.

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Hon. Ronald J. Hedges

Senior Counsel

Ronald is a member of Dentons' Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group. He has extensive experience in e-discovery and in the management of complex litigation and has served as a special master, arbitrator and mediator. He also consults on management and discovery of electronically stored information (“ESI”).

Ron Hedges was a United States Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey from 1986 to 2007. While a magistrate judge, he was the Compliance Judge for the Court Mediation Program, a member of the Lawyers Advisory Committee, and both a member of, and reporter for, the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Committee. From 2001 to 2005 he was a member of the Advisory Group of Magistrate Judges.

Ron was an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School, where he taught mediation skills. He was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and remains an adjunct professor at Rutgers School of Law—Newark. He taught courses on electronic discovery and evidence at both these schools. Ron was a Fellow at the Center for Information Technology of Princeton University for 2010-11 and 2011-12. He is also a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas.

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