Courtroom 23+

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History
For the Ninth Judicial Circuit, the Courtroom of the future is here today.  The Judges' vision of an integrated high-tech courtroom has become a reality. The project began in March of 1997, when a contingent from the Ninth Judicial Circuit traveled to Williamsburg to tour the preeminent hi-tech courtroom, Courtroom 21. The goal of the project was to create a hi-tech courtroom that seamlessly integrated the latest in courtroom technology and enhanced courtroom performance and presentation. On May 14, 1999, after much planning, discussion, and hard work, the Ninth Circuit formally opened one of the world's most technologically advanced and integrated courtrooms.

Design
In June of 1998, six months after moving into the new Orange County Courthouse, the Court contracted with Applied Legal Technology (ALT) to design and implement a plan to integrate cutting edge courtroom technology for the Roger A. Barker Courtroom, located on the 23rd floor (i.e., Courtroom 23). A team consisting of representatives from the following agencies worked with ALT to complete the design:

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Technology
The final plan included the following key technologies:

The evidence presentation system is centrally stored and operated from a podium and includes the following features: 1) a digital document camera to view documents, photographs, x-rays, 3-D objects, etc.; 2) a video cassette recorder to play standard VHS tapes; 3)  an audio cassette player to play cassette tapes;  4) an illustrator tablet and touch screen monitor for the attorney to mark on projected documents and/or images; 5) a touch screen  monitor for the witness to mark on projected documents and/or images; 6) a visual image printer to provide instant photo-quality print output of all presentations; 7) laptop connection for computer generated demonstrations; and 8) touch screen controls for easy local and remote operation.

The video system includes six mounted cameras that operate through a voice-activated switcher. The system is directly connected, via fiber optic or T-1 cable, to all jail sites, located throughout the Circuit, and has Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) capability, which provides connection to any ISDN site in the World. The video system enables remote testimony. Selected high profile-trials are broadcast, live through the Court's web site.  Click for "Live Broadcast"

The courtroom features both real-time and digital court reporting functionality. The real-time court reporting text can be displayed at any location in the courtroom at the Judges' discretion. The court proceedings can also be digitally recorded and played back through a Windows NT computer system. The digital recording can be activated and monitored remotely from the Digital Court Reporters' Office.  Audio CD's of the court proceedings are available upon request for a nominal charge.

Installation
To utilize all this technology, a lot of hardware had to be installed. ALT and the design team were challenged with applying the technology in a manner that did not negatively impact the decorum and dignity of the courtroom. Because we all remember what the Los Angeles courtroom looked like in the O.J. Simpson trial, the Court wanted to avoid a similar scene where the technology appeared to be out of control. Flat screen and plasma monitors were selected for the evidence presentation and video systems. For cable management, additional conduit was installed in the floor, Judges bench area, video room, and jury box. The cameras were installed in an area out of the normal sight line. The presentation of evidence, video conferencing, and real-time court reporting can be viewed from any one of the twenty flat screen monitors strategically placed throughout the courtroom. The judge's bench, the clerk's area, and each of the four attorney tables has a 15" flat screen monitor with 160 degree viewing angle.  The jury box has ten of the same monitors, discreetly situated on the rail (first row) or on thin mount poles (second row). The public seating area includes four 42" plasma screens distributed one per side for both the first floor and balcony viewing areas. The final design subtly incorporates the technology with the existing courtroom infrastructure.

Summary
Imagine an attorney placing a picture or document on a podium that automatically is displayed for the judge, the clerk, the court reporter, the attorneys, the litigants, the witness and all the jurors. Imagine the witness marking on the picture or annotating the document directly from the witness stand by simply using tracing his/her finger on the monitor with the results simultaneously displayed for everyone in the courtroom. Further imagine hearing and seeing live testimony from a witness located thousands of miles from the courthouse, then hearing back the testimony played through a laptop computer.  The Judges' vision has become a reality.
   


Mobile Evidence Presentation Systems

Ice Cart - Orange County
The Ninth Circuit’s constant search for a cost effective high-tech mobile evidence presentation system has taken yet another turn. The Court has developed a low-cost alternative to the sleeker and more expensive models currently on the market. The new system is affectionately known as the ICE Cart (i.e., Inexpensive Court Evidence Cart). The home-grown model includes many, if not all, of the same features of its more famous contemporaries.

The Ninth Circuit’s unit includes the following equipment/features:

In addition to the standard features provided by most systems, the ICE Cart, with the MP3 recorder, audio mixer, and wireless audio, also serves as a mobile digital court reporting unit. In just minutes, a single Court Administration employee can easily move the cart to any room in the courthouse, setup the microphones and begin recording court hearings and administrative meetings. The cost of the entire ICE Cart is less than the price of a typical stand-alone mobile digital court reporting system.

Although the Ninth Circuit’s presentation cart is marginally less attractive than the production models that are starting to appear in courthouses throughout the country, it is far more attractive when it comes to pricing. The Ninth Circuit’s cost $5,600 per unit, while the more refined units can be had for $18,000-$30,000 per unit.

NOMAD - Osceola County
In June of 2001, the Court introduced the NOMAD presentation system to the Osceola County legal community. The NOMAD is a very well conceived and powerful mobile evidence presentation system. It contains many of the same advanced features that much more expensive permanently installed systems have that are installed in courthouses all over the country. The NOMAD includes the following features:

  • LCD projector computer
  • Flat panel display
  • Digital document camera
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse
  • White board
  • VCR
  • DVD Player
  • Multi-media sound system
  • Laptop connection
  • Network connection
  • Audio amplification connection
  • Mobile cart system
  • Integrated and remote controls

The system can be moved into any of the twelve courtrooms and setup with full network connectivity within a few short minutes. The mobility and simple design of the NOMAD has provided the Court with the ability to convert all of the courtrooms in the Osceola County Courthouse into a high tech courtroom upon demand. The NOMAD system cost tens of thousands of dollars less than a fixed\permanent podium and can be used in multiple locations.  The Ninth Judicial Circuit is the first Court in the country to purchase the NOMAD system, which traditionally has been used mostly by colleges, university’s, and other educational centers.

To reserve a mobile evidence presentation system, please e-mail  AVrequest@ocnjcc.org and/or fax 407-836-5042


Participating Vendors

Advantage Software

Ikegami

Applied Legal Technologies, Inc.

IDE, Inc.

Avocent

JVC

B & D Manufacturers, Inc.

Lexmark International, Inc.

Biamp Systems

Meridian Technologies, Inc.

Boeckeler

Microsoft Corporation

Cisco Systems

Nomad Technologies, Inc.

Courtroom 21

Omnimount, Inc.

Consolidated Media Systems, Inc.

Pesa Switching Systems, Inc.

Corel Corporation

Samsung

Crestron Electronics, Inc.

Sennheiser

Dell Computer Corporation

Shepard’s Company

Extron Electronics

Skycraft Parts & Surplus, Inc.

FTR, LTD

Sony Corporation

Gentner

SoundTube

Herman Panson

West Publishing Corporation

Hewlett Packard Company

Williams Sound


Courtroom 23 Slide Show
Courtroom Technology
Ninth Circuit Technology Overview
Courtroom 23 Cartoon