A federal judge asked a judiciary rules committee this week to adopt a rule change that would extend the ability of courts to use videoconferencing technology in criminal hearings post-pandemic.

In a March 24 letter, U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig stated that Rule 43 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure—which governs a defendant’s courtroom presence—should be tweaked to allow trial judges to conduct pretrial criminal hearings over video conference if the defendant consents. Courts had that ability under certain circumstances during COVID-19 shutdowns through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but the legislation expired last May.