About the Committee

The Supreme Court adopts the rules of practice and procedure for all state courts. The Supreme Court appoints advisory committees to assist with the development of policy and rules.

In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing judicial emergency, the Vermont Judiciary rapidly acquired and deployed technology to facilitate remote hearings (both audio and video) in lieu of fully in-person hearings.  After the pandemic has abated, the Judiciary will continue to rely on remote technology, where appropriate, to fulfill its mission.  In the proper context and properly conducted, remote proceedings can provide greater access to court proceedings, and thus greater access to justice, by reducing the time and cost of participation.  The Judiciary remains committed to ensuring public access to nonconfidential court proceedings, whether held in person or through remote technology. The widespread conduct of remote hearings is new to the Vermont Judiciary, and it has given rise to a host of operational and policy questions and challenges. This committee is established to assist with developing informed procedures that preserve access to justice, provide for an open and affordable court system, and use resources in a cost-effective manner.

The tasks of the Special Advisory Committee on Remote Hearings include:

  • Identify operational and policy issues concerning the conduct of remote hearings and make recommendations to the Court Administrator, the Chief Superior Judge, or the committee with jurisdiction to address them.
  • Make recommendations to the Court Administrator and Chief Superior Judge relating to uniform procedures and standards of operation for all aspects of conducting remote hearings, and regarding any statutory revisions to accommodate increased reliance on remote proceedings.
  • Serve in an advisory capacity to the Judiciary’s Technology Services Center with respect to questions concerning infrastructure or configuration of tools relating to remote proceedings.

The committee may review existing guidelines for scheduling of remote proceedings and, in consultation with oversight committees, recommend changes.

Committee Members

Scott GriffithChair, Chief of Planning and Court Services
Honorable William D. CohenAssociate Justice, Liaison from Supreme Court
Laura La RosaTrial Court Operations
Maggie VilleneuveRegional Clerk
Julie BronsonCourt Operations Manager
Marcia SchelsChief Technology and Innovation Officer
Cedric BaeleOperations Assistant
James DumontAttorney Member
Marshall PahlAttorney Member, Deputy Defender General
Amelia DarrowAttorney Member
Honorable Helen M. ToorSuperior Judge
Honorable Timothy B. TomasiSuperior Judge
Honorable Jodi FrenchProbate Judge
Roger Garrity (WCAX)Media Member
Jessica Van BurenPrograms Manager, Access and Resources Center
Rick SwanRemote Service Delivery Analyst

Contact Information

Special Advisory Committee on Remote Hearings
Vermont Supreme Court
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609
ATTN:  Scott Griffith, Committee Chair

Scott Griffith, Committee Chair
Subject line: Special Advisory Committee on Remote Hearings