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HD Teletestimony, Cheap

On this video, Walter Mossberg of the WSJ reviews a Skype-based device called telyHD.  With one of these and a big-screen TV on each end, people can have video chats in high definition with a full-room view, rather than the small, low-res, tightly focused video chats that have been typical.  Mossberg's written review is here, but it may be limited to WSJ subscribers.

Mossberg emphasizes home use, but it seems to me this device would be useful for televised testimony in cases where such testimony is permissible.  A witness could testify from another country or a hospital bed in a more realistic way at less cost than with earlier technology.  The device costs $250, and the calls cost nothing.

Personally, I think minor witnesses, at least, should be allowed to testify this way simply to save money and reduce inconvenience to the witness.  If the defendant demands personal testimony by the lab tech under Melendez-Diaz just to gum up the works, there could be a telyHD in the lab building.  Instead of wasting all day at the courthouse, the tech could work until it was time to testify, do his 15 minutes testifying about the lab test that actually involves no real controversy, and then get back to work.  Whether two-way television satisfies the Confrontation Clause remains controversial, of course, but I think the Supreme Court will eventually come around to the conclusion it does (over Justice Scalia's vigorous dissent, if he's still there).  See 535 U.S. 1159-1169.

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