The George Zimmerman trial’s Skype testimony has been interrupted in what has proven a lesson in the need for courtroom protocol for remote witnesses.
This morning, witness Scott Pleasants (Skype name Lou Leon) readied to testify via Skype about his experiences with George Zimmerman as a professor during the defendant’s studies, but the testimony was soon halted.
As Pleasants attempted to answer questions, a single caller began to call the witness via Skype. Apparently, no one involved with the case had been aware of the easily applied “Do Not Disturb” mode in Skype disabling the ability of others to interrupt an important Skype session.
As soon as caller “Salman Talpur” broke through and was seen on nationally broadcast TV repeatedly ringing Lou Leon’s Skype account, several other callers piled on and disrupted courtroom proceedings by making any discussion impossible.
Testimony was halted and trial carrier HLN cut to commercial, returning with Pleasants on the phone to testify versus his Skype connection.
Like many forms of new technology, courts and courtrooms seem to be far behind the times in managing the limitations and necessary protocols of useful services.
Twitter was ahead of the old media curve as the Zimmerman trial briefly ground to a halt over Skype, with many users commenting on how basic the flub was — one popular tweet read:
Someone tell Salman Talpur to stop skyping Lou Leon at the Zimmerman trial.
— Jonathan Wald (@jonathanwald) July 3, 2013
CNN currently airing a bunch of people confused over what Skype is, so perfect. — Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) July 3, 2013
Last week, the State proved it didn’t know how Twitter works. This week, the State proved it didn’t know how Skype works.
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) July 3, 2013
While the Zimmerman trial was briefly stymied, a five minute directive to pen a Skype protocol could easily prevent such a problem in future instances of remote testimony.