Lawmakers look for way to make it easier for people to testify at parole hearings

Lawmakers aim to make it easier for people to attend parole hearings virtually

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana lawmakers want to make it easier for some people to attend public meetings online through apps like Zoom, even after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

A bill advanced Thursday, Oct. 1 would allow crime victims and advocacy groups to testify from their computer during parole hearings. Lawmakers say the idea could save district attorneys time and money by making the parole process easier. The parole board, however, would still have to meet in-person.

“If you look at the current law, a victim can either appear in-person or has to drive to a DA’s office and appear by telephone. We;re not using telephones to call in anymore when we have video conferencing. It’s kind of like using pagers. We still have them, but we’re not going to use them,” said Rep. Joe Marino, Gretna.

Criminals asking for parole already attend these hearings through video chat from prison. The criminals' families would also be allowed to testify on Zoom under the proposal.

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