NLADA Issues New Report on the Use of Video Proceedings in Criminal Court

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Release Date: 
Tuesday, September 19, 2023

WASHINGTON – The National Legal Aid & Defender Association today released “Hold the Line:  Impacted Voices on the Use of Video Proceedings in Criminal Court,” report that delves into the experiences of people who have engaged with video proceedings in criminal court, offering an insight into their encounters with this technology-driven approach.

 “This report truly highlights the difficult situation people frequently face when it comes to video proceedings,” said April Frazier Camara, President and CEO of NLADA.

 "It's a choice between going to court in person, which puts their livelihoods at risk – either due to work commitments or the lack of childcare – all in the hope of securing a better result in court.  On the other hand, they could opt for video proceedings, fully aware that this decision might heighten the chance of facing harsher outcome."

NLADA organized two in-person focus groups and three virtual feedback sessions. It hosted open conversations with people who have been directly or indirectly affected by the judicial system, all centered around the use of video during legal proceedings.

“It is critical to center the voices of impacted people in work and research especially with issues that are impacting individuals, families, and communities,” said Dr. Zaria Davis, DSW, author of Hold the Line: Impacted Voices on the Use of Video Proceedings in Criminal Court. “I am grateful to be able to elevate the voices of the participants in this study, and hope that impacted people are invited to the table at the start of any research process. Their voices and lived experiences are invaluable. I hope that we can expand this and other research utilizing participatory action research. “

The report recommends that every person affected should have the right to decide whether they want to use video proceedings for their case. Those involved in the discussions acknowledged that while video proceedings could help overcome some hurdles in reaching the court, they could also introduce new challenges that stand in the way of fair access to justice.

“Increasing access to courts, not only for individuals who are accused of crimes, but for victims and the community as well, should be a priority for system actors,” said Alison Bloomquist, NLADA Vice President of Strategic Alliances & Innovation and co-author of Hold the Line: Impacted Voices on the Use of Video Proceedings in Criminal Court. “But we cannot identify solutions without including impacted voices.  Those most proximate to the problem, are most proximate to the solution.”

To learn more about the report or to speak with an NLADA expert, please email Rabiah A. Burks, [email protected].


The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), founded in 1911, is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA has pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local levels, playing a leadership role in the creation of public defender systems and other important institutions from The Sentencing Project to the Legal Services Corporation. A leader in the development of national standards for civil legal aid and public defense, NLADA also provides advocacy, training and technical assistance for equal justice advocates across the country.