With court proceedings among public events impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, 35th District Court personnel overcame a few technical glitches to complete the court’s first-ever live videoconferencing criminal trial Thursday morning. The trial was shown on the court’s YouTube channel.
Court personnel, witnesses and defendant Joshua Lyon participated in a motion to adjudicate hearing for Lyon. Ellis adjudicated Lyon, who was serving a deferred adjudication probation for aggravated sexual assault of a child, and sentenced Lyon to five years in prison.
Lyon has been in the Brown County Jail in lieu of $100,000 since his arrest last May on a bond forfeiture warrant, jail records state.
Prosecutor Alex Hunn alleged Lyon, 28, had violated his probation in several ways including using marijuana and evading arrest. Lyon was represented by defense attorney Tommy Adams, who noted that Lyon had done well for the first seven years of his probation.
Ellis took note of Lyon’s issues with mental health. Lyon is on prescribed medication, it was noted. Ellis said he believes Lyon’s mental health issues had an impact on his actions in violating his probation.
Ellis and a court reporter were the only court personnel visible in the courtroom on the Zoom format. Lyon and Adams were seen in a room at the sheriff’s office, and Hunn was visible in a courthouse office. Witnesses testified from courthouse offices. No spectators were allowed in the courthouse.
The trial was occasionally slowed by audio issues which were quickly solved.