9.1 Telephone conferencing.

 

The trial court on its own motion or upon the request of any party may in its discretion conduct pre-trial or post-trial proceedings in civil actions by telephone conference with attorneys for all affected parties. The trial judge may specify:

 

(A) The time and the person who will initiate the conference;

 

(B) The party which is to incur the initial expense of the conference call, or the apportionment of such costs among the parties, while retaining the discretion to make an adjustment of such costs upon final resolution of the case by taxing same as part of the costs; and

 

(C) Any other matter or requirement necessary to accomplish or facilitate the telephone conference.

 

9.2 Video-conferencing.

 

(A) The following matters may be conducted by video-conference:

 

1. Determination of indigence and appointment of counsel;

2. Hearings on appearance and appeal bonds;

3. Initial appearance hearings;

4. Probable cause hearings;

5. Applications for arrest warrants;

6. Applications for search warrants;

7. Arraignment or waiver of arraignment;

8. Pretrial diversion and post-sentencing compliance hearings;

9. Entry of pleas in criminal cases;

10. Impositions of sentences upon pleas of guilty or nolo contendere;

11. Probation revocation hearings in felony cases in which the probationer admits the violation and in all misdemeanor cases;

12. Post-sentencing proceedings in criminal cases;

13. Acceptance of special pleas of insanity (incompetency to stand trial);

14. Situations involving inmates with highly sensitive medical problems or who pose a high security risk; and

15. Testimony of youthful witnesses;

16. Ex-parte applications for Temporary Protective Orders under the Family Violence Act and the Stalking Statute;

17. Appearances of interpreters;

 

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this rule, a judge may order a defendant’s personal appearance in court for any hearing.

(B) Confidential Attorney-Client Communication. Provision shall be made to preserve the confidentiality of attorney-client communications and privilege in accordance with Georgia law. In all criminal proceedings, the defendant and defense counsel shall be provided with a private means of communications when in different locations.

 

(C) Witnesses. In any pending matter, a witness may testify via video conference. Any party desiring to call a witness by video conference shall file a notice of intention to present testimony by video conference at least thirty (30) days prior to the date scheduled for such testimony. Any other party may file an objection to the testimony of a witness by video conference within ten (10) days of the filing of the notice of intention. In civil matters, the discretion to allow testimony via video conference shall rest with the trial judge. In any criminal matter, a timely objection shall be sustained; however, such objection shall act as a motion for continuance and a waiver of any speedy trial demand.

 

(D) Recording of Hearings. A record of any proceedings conducted by video conference shall be made in the same manner as all such similar proceedings not conducted by video conference. However, upon the consent of all parties, that portion of the proceedings conducted by video conference may be recorded by an audio-visual recording system and such recording shall be part of the record of the case and transmitted to courts of appeal as if part of a transcript.

 

(E) Technical Standards. Any video-conferencing system utilized under this rule must conform to the following minimum requirements:

 

1. All participants must be able to see, hear, and communicate with each other simultaneously;

2. All participants must be able to see, hear, and otherwise observe any physical evidence or exhibits presented during the proceeding, either by video, facsimile, or other method;

3. Video quality must be adequate to allow participants to observe each other’s demeanor and nonverbal communications; and

4. The location from which the trial judge is presiding shall be accessible to the public to the same extent as such proceeding would if not conducted by video conference. The court shall accommodate any request by interested parties to observe the entire proceeding.

 

 

 

The trial court on its own motion or upon the request of any part may in his discretion conduct pre trial or post trial proceedings in civil actions by telex one conference with attorneys for all affected parties. The trial judge may specify:

 

(A) The time and the person who will initiate the conference;

 

(B) The party which is to incur the initial expense of the conference call, or the apportionment of such costs among the parties, while retaining the discretion to make an adjustment of such costs upon final resolution of the case by taxing same as a part of the costs; and,

 

(C) Any other matter or requirement necessary to accomplish or facilitate the telephone conference.