Justice Grills Advocates For Baker Act Video Hearings

Feb 7, 2017

Attorneys defending the use of video conferencing for mental competency hearings aren’t scoring points with at least one member of the Florida Supreme Court.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Fred Lewis grilled supporters of using video conferencing in so-called "Baker Act" hearings during Tuesday's oral arguments.

An irritated Justice Fred Lewis appeared to side with advocates for the mentally ill who are challenging a Lee County court’s use of video cameras to remotely conduct so-called “Baker Act” hearings.

“Why should we be in favor of leaning toward pushing more people toward glass and mirrors and boxes rather than the human dignity of a judge deciding if someone is going to be deprived of their liberty.”

Supporters of the practice argue video conferencing saves time and money. Opponents say the practice confuses the mentally ill and cite studies showing it can interfere with treatment.