CASE LAW UPDATE: Whether allowing a police officer to testify via Zoom did not violate defendant’s 6th Amendment right of confrontation when there was a known exposure to COVID, as opposed to a general public concern?
The issue is whether defendant’s 6th Amendment right of confrontation was violated when the police officer, who was in quarantine due to a known exposure to COVID, was allowed to testify via Zoom? The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that although the 6th Amendment right of confrontation was implicated, it was not violated by allowing the police officer to testify via Zoom, where he was in quarantine due to a known exposure to COVID. In contrast, where there is merely a generalized concern regarding the COVID pandemic such does not sufficiently further an important public policy so as to permit dispensing with a criminal defendant’s right to confront a witness face to face in court.
State v. Tate, A21-0359, Becker County.
Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson was not attorney of record in this case.
COMMENTARY: very bad policy. They cannot start making exceptions like this to the 6th Amendment right of confrontation. They should have continued the trial until the officer was out of quarantine. We cannot fundamentally change Constitutional rights because of COVID.