Digital trial in store for incarcerated plaintiff; Judge Wortham to use Skype to try civil case

By David Yates | Mar 11, 2013

In an ever-increasing digital age, one Beaumont judge will put social media to work for him in an upcoming civil case.

This summer, Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, will employee Skype in the trial of Desrel Sneed Sr. vs. Tom Gillam III.

Skype allows users to verbally communicate by voice using a microphone and face-time with video by webcam.

The trial was originally slated for trial in April; however, Sneed is currently incarcerated and Judge Wortham will be in Galveston presiding over a criminal case.

Judge Wortham told the Southeast Texas Record that he plans on using Skype to try the case because he “doesn’t want to use a bench warrant and give the guy a free week out of jail.”

Court records show that in 2006 Sneed entered into an agreement with defendant Gillam, in which Sneed agreed to make repairs and improvements to two pieces of Gillam’s property for $1,475.

According to a motion to abate, Sneed failed to fully complete the work, leading Gillam to refuse to release him from his contractual obligations and Sneed to file suit.

The virtual-enabled trial will take place in June.

The case had been bounced around the lower Jefferson County court system until being assigned to Judge Wortham.

The defendant is represented by Beaumont attorney Keith Stanley of Adams & Boswell.

Case No. 2/0 S0001872

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