Courtrooms across the state will be allowed to use videoconferencing in district court proceedings.

House Bill 3756, authored by Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, and signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt, authorizes the use of videoconferencing technology in all stages of civil or criminal proceedings, except in jury trials or trials before judges.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really highlighted the flexibility and usefulness offered by videoconferencing,” Miller said. “The utilization of videoconferencing in district courts has the potential to save our criminal justice system both time and money, as well as maintaining public safety. ”

Sen. Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City, was the principal Senate author of HB 3756.

As a criminal defense lawyer for 20 years, Brooks says the bill is a much-needed step in modernizing the state’s judicial system.

“This is an important measure to improve public safety by allowing law enforcement more time to focus on enforcing the law rather than constantly transporting defendants to and from the district courthouse,” Brooks said. “One thing we’ve learned during this health crisis is that we have to be more efficient in government. This is a great example of using technology to modernize our court systems.”

Scott Crow, director of the Department of Corrections, expressed support for videoconferencing in a letter to Oklahoma district court judges. Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association also asked Stitt in a letter to sign the legislation.

The law will become effective Nov. 1.

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