Historically, most challenges to the Confrontation Clause have involved the absence of a witness at trial. With the advent of technology, however, the challenges have been rapidly evolving. The constitutionally provided right of the accused to confront witnesses is now being analyzed in situations where the witness is physically absent, but virtually present in the courtroom through the use of technological platforms. In the past couple decades, courts across the nation have dealt with various issues concerning the use of these platforms and the effect on the Confrontation Clause. The judgments have been diverse, but the general trend permits witnesses to testify via technological platforms, albeit usually with certain requirements the witness must meet. In 2015, the Montana Supreme Court followed this trend in City of Missoula v. Duane when it held the use of Skype, a two-way audio-video electronic communication program, did not violate the defendant’s right to confront witnesses. This note examines the Court’s divergent view on what is considered a compelling interest allowing for use of Skype, the lack of statutory authorization for the Court’s decision, and the unanswered questions involving courtroom use of Skype.
Marin Keyes, Case Note, The Skype is the Limit in Montana: City of Missoula v. Duane Gives Skype Testimony Almost Free Rein in Courtrooms, 76 Mont. L. Rev. Online 163, https://scholarship.law.umt.edu/mlr_online/vol76/iss1/20.