TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Kate Prince on Jul 30, 2020

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals last week made public its landmark ruling that Tennesseans have the right to confront accusers in court and not by video, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. “While we concede that two-way videoconferencing more closely approximates face-to-face confrontation, it is in no way constitutionally equivalent to the face-to-face confrontation envisioned by the Sixth Amendment,” Appellate Judge Robert W. Wedemeyer wrote. While the opinion doesn’t forbid the use of video technology outright, it does advise judges to only allow it as a last recourse “to further an important public interest.” It’s not immediately clear how the first-of-its-kind ruling will impact the Tennessee Supreme Court’s pandemic-related decision to authorize video technology as a substitute for in-person proceedings or whether the Tennessee Attorney General’s office will ask the high court to review the decision.