7A-49.6. Proceedings conducted by audio and video transmission.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, judicial officials may conduct proceedings of all types using an audio and video transmission in which the parties, the presiding official, and any other participants can see and hear each other. Judicial officials conducting proceedings by audio and video transmission under this section must safeguard the constitutional rights of those persons involved in the proceeding and preserve the integrity of the judicial process.

(b) Each party to a proceeding involving audio and video transmission must be able to communicate fully and confidentially with his or her attorney if the party is represented by an attorney.

(c) In a civil proceeding involving a jury, the court may allow a witness to testify by audio and video transmission only upon finding in the record that good cause exists for doing so under the circumstances.

(d) A party may object to conducting a civil proceeding by audio and video transmission. If the presiding official finds that the party has demonstrated good cause for the objection, the proceeding must not be held by audio and video transmission. If there is no objection, or if there is an objection and good cause is not shown, the presiding official may conduct the proceeding by audio and video transmission.

(e) Except as otherwise permitted by law, when the right to confront witnesses or be present is implicated in criminal or juvenile delinquency proceedings, the court may not proceed by audio and video transmission unless the court has obtained a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of the defendant's or juvenile respondent's rights.

(f) Proceedings conducted by audio and video transmission shall be held in a manner that complies with any applicable federal and State laws governing the confidentiality and security of confidential information.

(g) If the proceeding is one that is open to the public, then the presiding official must facilitate access to the proceeding by the public and the media as nearly as practicable to the access that would be available were the proceeding conducted in person.

(h) If the proceeding is required by law to be recorded, then the audio and video transmission must be recorded in accordance with G.S. 7A-95, G.S. 7A-198, and other laws, as applicable.

(i) This section is not intended to limit the court's authority to receive remote testimony pursuant to statutes that otherwise permit it, including G.S. 15A-1225.1, 15A-1225.2, 15A-1225.3, 20-139.1, 8C-1, Rule 616, 50A-111, and 52C-3-315(f).

(j) All proceedings under this section shall be conducted using videoconferencing applications approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

(k) As used herein, the term "judicial official" has the same meaning as in G.S. 15A-101(5). (2021-47, s. 9(a).)