AUSTIN – The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals heard oral arguments this week outside of the court's cavernous courtroom.
“Surreal, nothing to compare it to,” said Judge Bert Richardson, a member of the court.
Instead of appearing before the nine-member court in person, attorneys made their arguments remotely on a TV screen, with their images appearing along with the judges.
“I think the lawyers find it a little bit more comfortable because they’re not standing in front of nine judges,” Richardson said. “They’re in the comfort of their own office or their own home.”
Richardson said his colleagues on the court are also settling into this new way of conducting legal business.
“After one more round of this, we’ll be quite comfortable doing it,” Richardson said. “I don’t see any downside at all.”
Still, he said, they’re losing the familiar courtroom "feel."
“It’s nice being in the courtroom and nice being with the lawyers,” Richardson said. “But everybody’s mindful of the fact that these are unusual times for us.”