All five Kosciusko County courts are now fully equipped with technology capable of holding virtual hearings.

However, don’t expect to livestream a jury trial anytime soon.

Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Mike Reed said Tuesday his courtroom was the last courtroom to be getting a recording system updated, including making the courts all WiFi instead of hardwired.

“Until the pandemic, the Supreme Court said you could not broadcast any court proceedings,” Reed said.

However, courts have to be open.

“We have Zoom capabilities,” Reed said, saying those are used mostly in juvenile cases and for initial hearings with defendants. “The state, for the pandemic, bought us Zoom accounts ... and each of us have a channel that gets livestreamed, and the state provides that as well.”

Those Zoom hearings are not held for criminal cases where rules of evidence apply.

“We have live hearings, and we haven’t gotten shut down here, so that’s not been as big a concern for us as some places,” Reed said.

In December, the Indiana Supreme Court suspended jury trials until March 1 because of COVID-19.

The new technology being installed in Kosciusko courts this week means attorneys can now present evidence through more practical means because the court recording system is now connected through WiFi. What that means is, if an attorney has evidence on an electronic device, they can then upload that evidence to be shown on the big screen in the courtroom and that evidence is being recorded.

While Reed would only speak for his courtroom, he said, “At this point in time I?have no intention in my court to stream a jury trial live as long as we can have people come in and watch it.”

The jury trial for Courtney Kincaid in Whitley County’s Circuit Court was livestreamed in July 2020. That happened not only because of social distancing, but also because that courtroom was too small to hold many people – much smaller than the felony courts in Kosciusko.

Kincaid was convicted of two Level 1 felonies for aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent resulting in death and sentenced to 30 years in the Rockville Correctional Facility. She has filed an appeal.