The presentation of expert testimony via live audio-visual communication.

R. D. Miller,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 19(1): 5-20, 1991.
As part of a national effort to improve efficiency in court procedures, the American Bar Association has recommended, on the basis of a number of pilot studies, increased use of current audio-visual technology, such as telephone and live video communication, to eliminate delays caused by unavailability of participants in both civil and criminal procedures. Although these recommendations were made to facilitate court proceedings, and for the convenience of attorneys and judges, they also have the potential to save significant time for clinical expert witnesses as well. The author reviews the studies of telephone testimony that were done by the American Bar Association and other legal research groups, as well as the experience in one state forensic evaluation and treatment center. He also reviewed the case law on the issue of remote testimony. He then presents data from a national survey of state attorneys general concerning the admissibility of testimony via audio-visual means, including video depositions. Finally, he concludes that the option to testify by telephone provides a significant savings in precious clinical time for forensic clinicians in public facilities, and urges that such clinicians work actively to convince courts and/or legislatures in states that do not permit such testimony (currently the majority), to consider accepting it, to improve the effective use of scarce clinical resources in public facilities. [References: 34]