Senate Study Bill 3061 - Introduced SENATE/HOUSE FILE _____ BY (PROPOSED JUDICIAL BRANCH BILL) A BILL FOR An Act relating to remote testimony in civil and criminal court 1 proceedings. 2 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 3 TLSB 5314XD (6) 89 cm/jh
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ Section 1. Section 624.1, subsection 1, Code 2022, is 1 amended to read as follows: 2 1. All issues of fact in ordinary actions shall be tried 3 upon oral evidence taken in open court, except that depositions 4 may be used as provided by law. “Open court” includes remote 5 testimony of a witness by telephone, videoconference, or other 6 remote means of communication approved by the court. 7 Sec. 2. NEW SECTION . 801.6 Remote testimony. 8 1. Courts may direct, and parties and attorneys may request, 9 that noncontested criminal court proceedings other than 10 trials be held by videoconference or telephone if appropriate 11 technology is available. District courts may accept any 12 noncontested criminal proceeding testimony by videoconference 13 or telephone with the parties’ consent. 14 2. In contested criminal cases, with the parties’ consent 15 and in the court’s discretion, the court may permit jury and 16 nonjury trials or otherwise take testimony by videoconference 17 or telephone if appropriate technology is available. 18 EXPLANATION 19 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 20 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 21 This bill authorizes the use of remote testimony in civil 22 trials, noncontested criminal proceedings, and contested 23 criminal proceedings with consent of the defendant. Under 24 current law, all testimony needs to be taken in open court, 25 except for depositions. The bill, in part, is a response to 26 the supreme court of Iowa’s decision in In re Estate of Rutter, 27 633 N.W.2d 740 (Iowa 2001). The court held that phrase “in 28 open court” meant physical presence in the courtroom itself, 29 and ruled that allowing telephonic testimony over objection 30 violated the statute. The bill is also, in part, a response 31 to the supreme court of Iowa’s decision in State v. Rogerson, 32 855 N.W.2d 495 (Iowa 2014). In criminal proceedings, the court 33 held that remote testimony of a witness would violate the Sixth 34 Amendment’s confrontation clause. 35 -1- LSB 5314XD (6) 89 cm/jh 1/ 1