Courts are increasingly using technology to enhance the quality and effectiveness of court proceedings. New York, Florida, Arizona, Minnesota, and Delaware all have state-of-the-art courtrooms. Technology is being used to increase understanding of the evidence while reducing the length of trials and their cost. Information related to the case is stored and presented electronically. A CD-ROM will hold a transcript, an audio and a video recording of the trial and all evidence that was presented at trial, making a multi-media trial record. This article discusses how technology is being used in today’s state-of-the art courtroom.
Pleadings and other court papers can be filed electronically. Counsel for both sides can submit legal briefs through the Internet.
Foreign Language Translation
Technology makes it possible to have foreign language translation in the courtroom.
Computers in the Courtroom
Flat screen computer monitors are located in the jury box and at the witness stand, the judge’s bench, and the counsel tables. Computer docking stations provide Internet access for counsel and the judge. This access makes it possible to do computerized legal research, with the ability to check legal authority on the spot.
Instantaneous Electronic Transcripts
A real-time electronic transcript is made by the court reporter. The transcript appears on the computer monitors at the judge’s bench and counsel tables.
Video Evidence Presentation and Animation
An electronic projector is available in the courtroom. A touch screen allows attorneys or witnesses to highlight or add comments to the images on the screen, such as documents, photographs and drawings. Evidence can be presented using imaged documents on a CD-ROM. Animation allows for reenactment of events such as an automobile accident.
Videoconferencing is available that allows remote live witness testimony if the witness is unable to be present in the courtroom. Remote appellate court appearances are also possible. Remote live appearances and arraignments of defendants are commonplace in criminal cases throughout the United States.
Enhanced Sound System
The sound systems in courtrooms are being enhanced with voice-activated microphones. The systems amplify voices and allow everyone in the courtroom to hear the proceedings clearly. Listening devices for the hearing-impaired also are available in some courtrooms.