In my last blog post, I wrote about the Maryland Rules addressing the broadcast of trial court proceedings and how there seems to be a presumption against such broadcast. Contrast that with another court in Judiciary, the Maryland Court of Appeals. For those who don’t know, the state’s highest court offers both a live webcast of all proceedings before the court, as well as archived video proceedings dating back to December 2006.
I strongly urge all attorneys (and particularly newly minted Maryland attorneys) to be aware of this service and include it in your “lawyer’s toolbox.”
For example, part of my practice involves representing clients in property tax assessment appeals. (Note to legislators: If you want a broken system to fix, turn your sights there). There are very few appellate cases addressing this narrow area of practice and, specifically, the types of relevant evidence in these appeals. I was aware that one such case, Lane v. Supervisor of Assessments of Montgomery County, was coming up for argument before the COA. From previewing the court’s argument schedule that it publishes online, I knew when I could watch the argument live.
Arguments are archived by the close of the business day, so if I had been unable to watch the argument live, by the following day I would have been able to cue up the argument on demand.
Using the archive of arguments, if there is a COA opinion of particular interest to your practice, you can easily locate the oral argument in the archive and watch it at your convenience. Also, if an attorney friend of yours has appeared before the COA and you want to check them out to compliment them or commiserate with them (or both), you can easily access the proceeding.
I don’t expect Chief Judge Barbera and Judges McDonald, Greene, Battaglia, Hotten, Adkins and Watts to achieve Netflix or Amazon Prime streaming video fame. Let’s be honest, the COA isn’t that interesting. But I do suggest that attorneys familiarize themselves with the COA website to locate the argument schedule, where live streaming of COA argument appears, and where archived arguments can be searched and viewed.