In any event, we have no right to a jury when the state makes a claim that our children are dependent or worse when the state files an action to terminate parental rights. This means that a judge will here our case and make a judgment of the facts operating under the handicaps listed above. Then when he issues an opinion the appeals court will overwhelmingly uphold that opinion based on the ore tenus rule because they themselves were not present to judge the credibility of witnesses. This is a source of major frustration for family court litigants who feel that the judge got it wrong on the the most important issues in their lives.
A simple remedy for this frustration would be to mandate that all family court cases are recorded by video. Video equipment is not terribly expensive and is already installed in many courtrooms. Further, the cost of installing video equipment could be offset by eliminating the need for a court reporter to be present at these trials as a video could be used in place of a transcript. The video could then be transmitted to the appeals court and they would have the advantage of being able to review it and make an opinion of the facts by viewing what the trial judge viewed. In football we use instant replay because we want to get it right. We should do the same in court.