Rule 11-18. Remote Hearings

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Rule 11-18. Remote Hearings

   These remote hearing rules apply to both the District and County Courts. Remote hearings shall be governed by the following rules:

   A. Use of Remote Hearings in the Eleventh Judicial District shall be available as described in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 24-734.

   1. The Judge, in his or her discretion, may order any case under § 24-734, not involving oral testimony, to be conducted by telephone, videoconferencing, or other similar method. § 24-734(3).

   2. The Judge may permit a witness to be examined by oral testimony to appear by telephone, videoconferencing, or other similar method in a criminal case with the consent of the parties. § 24-734(4).

   3. The Judge, for good cause shown, shall permit any witness to be examined by oral examination to appear by telephone, videoconferencing, or similar method, unless there is an objection sustained after considering the factors set forth in § 24-734(5).

   4. Costs for such remote hearings, if any, shall be assessed as set forth in § 24-734.

   B. Rules for Video/Phone Hearings:

   1. SCHEDULING: The remote hearing must be scheduled, set up, and initiated by the moving party as coordinated with the Court at least 5 days in advance of the hearing, excluding emergency hearings.

   2. EXHIBITS: All exhibits to be offered at remote hearings must be provided to the Court and all other parties at least five (5) days in advance of the hearing. Any electronic evidence must be offered in a form that can be viewed by the Court AND preserved with the Court for purposes of appeal. You should check with Court staff to verify that your electronic evidence is on a form that can be viewed and preserved in advance of your hearing.

   3. ATTIRE: The same attire required for attorneys in the courtrooms shall be required for remote hearings. Non-attorneys shall be attired in appropriate clothing, Clothing with profane or inappropriate language, symbols or graphics, or the lack of proper clothing will result in your removal and loss of the privilege to appear remotely.

   4. BACKGROUNDS: All participants shall be located in a quiet indoor area with an appropriate background environment. No virtual backgrounds shall be allowed.

   5. CONDUCT: All participants shall conduct themselves in a quiet and orderly manner. No person shall smoke, eat, drink, watch television, listen to music, use cell phones or other electronics, or engage in distracting or inappropriate conduct while in a video/telephonic conference.

   6. BE ON TIME/PREPARED: All attorneys and litigants shall be present and prepared to proceed at the time scheduled by the Court and shall be immediately in front of their video/telephonic device to allow others in the hearing to see/hear them clearly.

   7. NAME: Name yourself with your legal name on any sign in information.

   8. BE PATIENT: Participants may be placed in a waiting room prior to joining the hearing. The host will admit participants as soon as possible from the waiting room.

   9. BE STATIONARY: All participants shall be seated during the hearing. If you need to move to an area with better reception, do so prior to the hearing. It is not acceptable to be walking, moving, driving, or riding in a vehicle during a video/telephonic hearing.

   10. MUTE YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY: Upon entering the virtual courtroom, immediately mute yourself by clicking the microphone button (a diagonal line through a microphone icon should appear to show that you have been muted).

   11. DO NOT SPEAK UNTIL CALLED UPON: The judge will let you know when you may unmute your microphone and speak. You may also use the chat feature to communicate with the host or judge about an issue with the hearing (example--“I have trouble getting my audio to work”).

   12. CAMERAS TO REMAIN ON: Cameras are to remain on for all parties during video hearings.

   13. CONNECTION ISSUES: If an attorney or litigant has an issue (for example, they cannot hear what is being said), they should immediately bring the matter to the Judge’s attention. Members of the public participating in the hearing may not request or obtain assistance from any individual participating in the hearing.

   14. PUBLIC ACCESS. The public shall have access to all remote hearings either by live video feed in the courtroom or by requesting a link to the remote hearing. Non-parties wishing to access any video/telephonic hearing remotely may do so by written request with the Court on the attached form (Appendix 2) and compliance with these rules.

   C. IT IS ORDERED THAT RECORDING OF REMOTE HEARINGS IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All participants (with the exception of credentialed media subject to media rules) are prohibited from recording, capturing, saving, broadcasting, televising, or photographing the proceeding in any manner. FAILURE TO ABIDE BY THIS ORDER MAY RESULT IN CONTEMPT OF COURT PROCEEDINGS.

Rule 11-18 approved November 9, 2022; Rule 11-18 amended January 25, 2023.