Justices Pull The Plug On Baker Act Videoconferences

May 12, 2017
Originally published on May 11, 2017 4:13 pm

Florida judges can’t use videoconferencing to involuntarily commit the mentally ill, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Justices ruled unanimously that lower courts can’t use videoconferencing when presiding over so-called “Baker Act” cases. Public defenders were challenging a move by Lee County to use teleconferences as a way to save time and money.

But Justice Barbara Pariente wrote defendants in Baker Act cases are the state’s most vulnerable citizens and deserve heightened consideration.

During oral arguments, an angry Justice Fed Lewis predicted judges would soon be holding hearings from the comfort of their backyard swimming pools.

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