Participating in a Zoom Video Conference
Important: Any recording of a court proceeding held by video or teleconference, including “screen-shots” or other visual copying of a hearing, is strictly prohibited. Violation of these prohibitions may result in sanctions, including removal of court-issued media credentials, restricted entry to future hearings, denial of entry to future hearings, or any other sanctions deemed necessary by the court.
If you will be a case participant in a Zoom video conference with the court (i.e., an attorney, witness, case party, etc.), please follow the guidance below, as adequate preparation and testing of the system will help ensure a good experience for everyone involved. Case participants will receive login information directly from the court. Zoom login information is not public and must not be shared with anyone other than the appearing attorneys and other direct participants in the court proceeding.
- ZoomGov Participant Guide (with Interpretation details)
- ZoomGov Participant Screen Share Guidance
- ZoomGov Participant Guide for Mobile (iOS or Android)
Interpretation enabled Zoom Meetings:
- Must Join with Computer Audio (Phone Call Option doesn’t allow Interpretation channel functionality)
- Interpretation channels are disabled and not available in Breakout rooms (consecutive Interpretation only)
For security and enforcement of court standards, the court may disable some Zoom interactions (such as chat, screen share, whiteboard, Q&A, raise hand, react, etc.).
The court will not provide technical support for Zoom participants or attendees. Please contact the Zoom Help Center, your local IT support, or other online guidance.
Order Establishing Video Conference Hearings
All parties wishing to attend videoconference hearings must provide notice to the court as described in Administrative Order 2020-1.
Exhibits for video conference hearings
Any exhibits that will be introduced at a video hearing must be submitted to the court prior to the hearing by using the Evidence Upload system (or as otherwise ordered by the Judicial Officer).
Zoom Account and Software
- Participants: If you do not already have a Zoom account, set one up at https://zoom.us. A paid Zoom account is not necessary for any interaction with the court. Attendees do not need a Zoom account, but it does make using the system easier.
- Log into https://zoom.us/profile and set your name, phone and email. Including a photo will help identify you when connecting. Attendees do not need a Zoom profile or to provide any identity information, but it does make using the system easier.
- Install the latest Zoom Client for Meetings at https://zoom.us/download. Although Zoom can be used in a browser only, it is very limited. The full Zoom client is required for best functionality and best experience with the system.
Zoom has a lot of settings, and as the system updates, certain aspects or features may change. Below are a few settings recommended by the court to improve your video conference.
- General: Ask me to confirm when I leave a meeting: ON (Helps prevent unintended departures)
- Video: Enable HD: OFF (Helps prevent poor video performance, and usually looks just as good as HD)
- Video: Always display participant names on their video: ON
- Video: Always show video preview dialog when joining a video meeting: ON (Final check before your video displays to others)
If you are participating on a computer, a few helpful shortcuts can make it easier to manage your participation:
- Alt+F1: Switch to active speaker view in video meeting (see only the person actively speaking at the moment)
- Alt+F2: Switch to gallery video view in video meeting (see up to 49 participants on screen)
- Alt+V: Start/Stop your own video
- Alt+A: Mute/unmute your own audio
The following recommendations will ensure every participant is able to hear and be heard clearly during a video conference:
- Mute your phone and mute all sounds from all other applications (email notifications, chat messaging, etc.).
- Avoid using battery power only (laptops, etc.). Plug into a good power source while in a Zoom meeting.
- Unless you’ve confirmed the quality is sufficient, avoid using an open microphone and speakers, such as those that are built-into laptops or a webcam. Using a good quality headset (headphones with mic) will often help ensure you can be heard and can hear others with maximum quality.
- Avoid noisy and echoing locations. Use of a headset will improve audio quality when this is unavoidable.
- Avoid using speakerphone if dialing in using phone audio. Hold the phone up to your ear or use a headset with a microphone.
- Avoid distracting real or virtual backgrounds.
- Avoid poor camera positioning (if possible). Try to frame yourself so you take up most the screen, at eye level.
- Avoid running any unnecessary applications besides Zoom, to conserve your computer’s processing power and networking.
- For home networks, if possible, avoid sharing your internet service with others during the session (for example, streaming video or gaming on the same network while participating on a Zoom call).
- If using WiFi connection make sure you are in close proximity to your home router for a stable internet connection or connect your laptop via physical ethernet data cable.
Expectations and Decorum
Please follow typical courtroom decorum as if you were physically present in court.
- Local Civil Rule 83(b) Section 16 – See pg. 45-47
- Be familiar with the CARES Act. Video Conferencing is the exception to the Rule, especially in criminal cases. The rule is to have in-person, in-court appearances where the public can be present. If you wish to proceed by video be prepared to give the Judge the information that will enable the Judge to make a case specific finding that the matter cannot be further delayed without harm to the interests of justice. We want to keep the dockets moving and will do all we can to facilitate video proceedings but recognize that the litigants have a right to be in open court so help us by being prepared to provide a reason why the proceeding should not be delayed until it can be held in open court.
- Court attire is required for court video conferences; Parties appearing in video conferences with the court should avoid distracting or inappropriate clothing that would be visible during a video conference.
- It is critical to advise the Judge or Courtroom Deputy immediately if experiencing issues with video or audio, so it may be determined if the issue can be resolved before the hearing continues.
- Do not interrupt or talk over one another and otherwise use courtroom manners. It’s unintentional but recognize that there is a slight delay in transmissions so best practice is to pause before speaking. Speak slowly.
- Be mindful to unmute your Mic before you begin speaking.
- If you are presenting evidence, work on stipulations so that the evidence can be pre-admitted. Otherwise if you need to offer documentary evidence, learn how to screen share.
- Connect early and be ready to start for the schedule time of the court proceeding.
- Learn how to use Zoom before the scheduled court hearing, not during.
Preparing for a Court Session on Zoom
Before Every Court Session using Zoom
- Connect your device to power.
- Make sure your internet connection is good: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2048594/how-to-test-your-home-internet-speed.html
- Test your video.
- Test your audio.
- Turn off all audio disruptions (phones, messaging alerts, email alerts, etc.)
- Run a quick test to connect with another Zoom user, or use the Zoom test: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115002262083-Joining-a-test-meeting
The court will likely use only the audio and video functionality of Zoom. Other functions such as text chat, screen sharing, etc., will likely be disabled for your session, and you need only learn the basics of observing or participating in a Zoom meeting by audio or video. Consult the following sources to learn how to select the correct audio and video source, how to mute/unmute your audio, and how to Start/Stop your video:
- Video: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200521865-Video
- Audio: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200319096-Audio
- Learn how to easy mute/unmute with Push to talk: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360000510003-Push-to-Talk
Hot Keys and Keyboard Shortcuts to start/stop video, mute, etc.: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/205683899-Hot-Keys-and-Keyboard-Shortcuts-for-Zoom