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Using Cisco WebEx for Federal Court Proceedings

Texas Western Bankruptcy Court - Virtual Courtroom Guidelines for Users [PDF] (For Proceedings Prior to November 2, 2020)

Texas Western Bankruptcy Court - Virtual Courtroom Guidelines for Users [PDF] (Effective November 2, 2020)

User Instructions - WebEx Hearings

What is WebEx?

WebEx is a court videoconference software, that connects you to the courtroom with the video (picture) through your computer device and audio (voice) through your phone

More information available online at

You Need

To use WebEx to attend court, you will need:

  1. a computer, laptop or tablet with a camera (“computer device”); AND
    • the first time--you must download and install the “Cisco Webex Meetings” free software application on your computer device.
  2. a high-speed internet connection; AND
  3. a phone (mobile or landline)
    • Note: using a smartphone as your computer device (for video) is not recommended; you may of course use your smartphone as your telephone (for audio).

Step-by-Step Instructions to Join Courtroom Hearing

  1. Open the Cisco Webex Meetings software application on your computer device, then on the screen:
    A - select “Join Meeting”
    B - type in your name and email address in the boxes;
    C - in the “Meeting Number/Meeting Information” box, type in a courtroom address:
            For Proceedings Prior to November 2, 2020
            ao-courts.webex.com/meet/King (for a hearing with Judge King)
            ao-courts.webex.com/meet/Gargotta (for a hearing with Judge Gargotta)
            ao-courts.webex.com/meet/Mott (for a hearing with Judge Mott)
            ao-courts.webex.com/meet/Davis (for a hearing with Judge Davis)

            Effective November 2, 2020
            us-courts.webex.com/meet/King (for a hearing with Judge King)
            us-courts.webex.com/meet/Gargotta (for a hearing with Judge Gargotta)
            us-courts.webex.com/meet/Mott (for a hearing with Judge Mott)
            us-courts.webex.com/meet/Davis (for a hearing with Judge Davis)
    D - select “Join”

  2. You will then be connected and see a screen called “Judge’s Virtual Courtroom”,
    if the host has not arrived. Usually, access to the virtual courtroom will begin about 30 minutes before the start of hearing.
  3. Under “Audio” dropdown: Select “Call Me” OR “Call In”. DO NOT USE Computer/Internet Audio.
    A-If you selected “Call Me”, then
            (1) type in your phone number and then click on “Join Meeting”,
            (2) you will be called on your phone and when you answer, you will be connected to courtroom by audio.
            (Note: the “Call Me” option is now available and is much simpler than using the “Call In” option)
    B-If you selected “Call In”, then:
            (1) click on “Join Meeting/Join”;
            (2) a pop-up window will appear, and then on your phone,
                   (1) dial the first “call-in toll” phone number displayed on the screen,
                   (2) then dial the Access Code displayed on the screen followed by #, and
                   (3) then dial the Attendee ID displayed on the screen, followed by # .
    You will then be connected to the courtroom audio by phone

    That’s it!
    Speak into your phone to address the Court; using earbuds or handsets (not speakerphones) are strongly recommended!

IF ALL ELSE FAILS, YOU CAN ATTEND THE HEARING BY PHONE ONLY, BY DIALING:

For Proceedings Prior to November 2, 2020

Judge King hearing: phone no. 888-278-0296; access code: 9198559
Judge Gargotta hearing: phone no. 877-848-7030; access code: 4494028
Judge Mott hearing: phone no. 888-363-4734; access code: 8640852
Judge Davis hearing: phone no. 877-873-8018; access code: 7700035

Effective November 2, 2020

Judge King hearing: phone no. 650-479-3207; access code: 160-686-6761#; press # again for no attendee ID
Judge Gargotta hearing: phone no. 650-479-3207; access code: 160-591-1937#; press # again for no attendee ID
Judge Mott hearing: phone no. 650-479-3207; access code 160-357-6609#; press # again for no attendee ID
Judge Davis hearing: phone no. 650-479-3207; access code: 160-704-4630#; press # again for no attendee ID

 

Ground Rules - WebEx Hearings

Although WebEx connects you to the courtroom by video (picture), the audio (voice) through your phone remains extremely important. Hearings are electronically recorded by the Court through audio, so it is critical that the audio (voice) is clear through your phone.

Rule# 1 - Please try to avoid using your speakerphone to address the Court. Instead, use either (1) earbuds with a built-in microphone (corded or wireless); (2) headset with a microphone; or (3) the handset of your phone. You can certainly leave it on speakerphone while you are just listening.

Rule# 2 - Please put your phone on mute, while you are just listening. You can mute your phone on your computer using WebEx (microphone icon at bottom of screen) or on your phone. Also please keep background noise to a minimum; otherwise the Court may unilaterally mute you sua sponte.

Rule# 3 - Before you speak, state your name.

Rule# 4 - Speak slowly and clearly.

Rule# 5 - Do not interrupt when someone else is speaking. The Court will provide everyone with an opportunity to speak that wants to be heard. Feel free to silently raise your hand or wave if you want to say something, it will provide the Court with a visual clue to call on you specifically.

Rule# 6 - When your hearing is over or you want to get out of the hearing, just disconnect and hang-up. You do not need to ask permission to be excused.

Rule# 7 - Recording or broadcasting of the hearing by any person is prohibited--just like you could not record or broadcast if you were in the courtroom.

 

Tips - WebEx Hearings

Tip# 1 - Punctuality
Please log-in for a WebEx hearing at least 15 minutes before the start of your hearing. If it is the first time you are using WebEx, you should log-in 30 minutes before the hearing to check your connection and equipment. If the “host” (the Courtroom Deputy) has not started the WebEx meeting when you log-in, please stay logged in and connected until the host arrives and starts the meeting. If another hearing is in progress when you log-in on WebEx, please make sure your phone is muted so you do not interrupt other hearings.

Tip# 2 - Use the WebEx Software Application
Use WebEx through the WebEx Meetings software application, not through your internet browser.

Tip# 3 - Exhibits
For WebEx hearings, marked and bound hard copies of exhibits should be provided to the Court, with copies to opposing counsel by hard copy or email, as required by the Local Bankruptcy Rules. Exhibits may be sent to the Court by email or filed with exhibit lists if specifically permitted by the Judge or Courtroom Deputy in your case. Make sure all testifying witnesses are provided with a copy of exhibits.

It is not necessary to display exhibits on the WebEx computer screen during a hearing, as the Court and all parties should already have received the exhibits. You can admit and refer to exhibits as you would in a normal hearing.

If you want to point out a particular exhibit or document to the Court at a hearing by putting it on the computer screen, WebEx has a “share content” button (upload icon at the bottom of the screen).

If you want to use electronic exhibits for a WebEx hearing, contact the Courtroom Deputy well in advance to determine if it is feasible.

Tip# 4 - Clients/Witnesses
Clients may appear at a WebEx hearing by phone only (using the Judge’s conference call number and access code), unless directed otherwise by the Judge in your case. Clients may also appear by WebEx, although counsel should instruct their client on how to use WebEx before (not during) the hearing.

Witnesses providing live testimony should appear by WebEx, unless directed otherwise by the Judge in your case. Counsel should instruct their witness on how to use WebEx before (not during) the hearing.

Tip# 5 - Attire
Counsel and witnesses appearing by WebEx should wear attire appropriate for a courtroom.

Tip# 6 - Grid View
Most WebEx users prefer the grid view of all participants; you can select grid view through an icon at the top right of your screen.

Help/Test Session

Instructions for using WebEx are also located on the Court’s website (www.txwb.uscourts.gov) under the TXWB Virtual WebEx Hearings Information tab. These instructions also contain links to Cisco WebEx information and help pages.

If you want to set up a test session using WebEx, contact the Judge’s Courtroom Deputy or law clerk to schedule a test session in advance of your hearing.

 

Ground Rules - Telephonic Hearings

Hearings are electronically recorded by the Court through audio, so it is critical that the audio (voice) is clear through your phone. The Court and other listeners also need to know who is speaking on the phone.

Rule# 1 - Put your phone on mute when you are not speaking to the Court. Put your phone on mute as soon as the hearing begins and the Judge starts speaking. Do not place the call on hold.

Rule# 2 - Do not use your speakerphone to address the Court. Instead, use either (1) earbuds with a built-in microphone (corded or wireless); (2) headset with a microphone; or (3) the handset of your phone. Feel free to use your speakerphone while you are just listening.

Rule# 3 - Before you speak--each time--state your name.

Rule# 4 - Speak slowly and clearly. Remember to take your phone off mute when speaking.

Rule# 5 - Please keep background noise to a minimum; otherwise the Court may unilaterally mute you sua sponte.

Rule# 6 - Do not interrupt when someone else is speaking. The Court will provide everyone with an opportunity to speak that wants to be heard.

Rule# 7 - When your hearing is over or you want to get out of the hearing, just hang-up. You do not need to ask permission to be excused.

Rule# 8 - Recording or broadcasting of the hearing by any person is prohibited--just like you could not record or broadcast if you were in the courtroom.

Following are the Conference Call Numbers for Hearings

For Proceedings Prior to November 2, 2020

Judge King hearing: phone no. 888-278-0296; access code: 9198559
Judge Gargotta hearing: phone no. 877-848-7030; access code: 4494028
Judge Mott hearing: phone no. 888-363-4734; access code: 8640852
Judge Davis hearing: phone no. 877-873-8018; access code: 7700035

Effective November 2, 2020

Judge King hearing: phone no. 650-479-3207; access code: 160-686-6761#; press # again for no attendee ID
Judge Gargotta hearing: phone no. 650-479-3207; access code: 160-591-1937#; press # again for no attendee ID
Judge Mott hearing: phone no. 650-479-3207; access code 160-357-6609#; press # again for no attendee ID
Judge Davis hearing: phone no. 650-479-3207; access code: 160-704-4630#; press # again for no attendee ID