Florida Courthouse Uses AV Systems To Expedite Proceedings

Gainesville, FL (PRWEB) September 2, 2004

The Digital Age has given rise to the emergence of new technology in the U.S. judicial system. Overloaded with cases but constrained by limited budgets and resources, court administrators are seeking innovative ways to increase efficiency and decrease expenditures. Courthouses from the local level to the federal have begun using multi-media technology to improve the judicial process. Audiovisual (AV) equipment in particular has recently gained prominence in court proceedings throughout the country.

AV systems enable both lawyers and judges to enhance the comprehension of trial proceedings by jurors and spectators while reducing trial time and expense. Accordingly, many attorneys and judges have become major proponents of incorporating AV technology into judicial proceedings.

Recent court-based studies affirm that multi-media technology used in courtroom applications offers several advantages over more traditional methods of evidence presentation:


Presentation systems make it easier for case participants to see, hear and ultimately understand proceedings.

Jurors are more responsive and retain more information when materials are electronically presented.

Multi-media technology enables attorneys to communicate better with the court and to easily stress meaningful points of the case.

Newer, more technically advanced evidence can be presented.

Judicial proceedings can be expedited, therefore making them less costly to taxpayers.

Presentation technology can and often does increase the accuracy of trial proceedings.

Videoconferencing has proven to be a particularly cost-effective and timesaving process for conducting courtroom testimony when individuals such as witnesses are unable to appear in person. It is no longer necessary for judge, counsel, litigants and witnesses to be present in the courtroom simultaneously. Instead, two-way videoconferencing unites all relevant parties, and at the same time eliminates travel-related expenses and delays. On any given day, hundreds of U.S. courtrooms are using videoconferencing systems for a variety of proceedings including first appearances and arraignments in criminal cases, remote hearings, depositions, and appellate appearances.

In an effort to diminish the time and expense of litigation, administrators at the Alachua County Courthouse in Gainesville, Florida decided to install their own videoconferencing arraignment system. With assistance and recommendations from Troxell Communications, one of the nation’s leading suppliers of AV solutions, the County linked together the jail and the courthouse with Belden fiber optic cable. By connecting the cable to Panasonic closed circuit TV cameras and monitors throughout the courthouse, the videoconference network was created.

Now, all Alachua County pre-trial arraignments are held by videoconference. Instead of transferring defendants to and from the jail for a courthouse arraignment, defendants appear in front of a judge over a live video feed without ever leaving the jailhouse. The County’s decision to implement this increasingly popular arraignment method increases courthouse security, greatly reduces an inmate’s ability to escape custody, and saves the time and expense of transferring prisoners to and from multiple locations.

At the same time, the Courthouse also completed an upgrade of the audio system in each of its 13 courtrooms. All key courtroom presentation areas – lectern, bench, witness box and counsel tables – are equipped with microphones. The system’s quality sound output ensures that everyone in the courtroom can clearly hear statements and testimony during proceedings.

The County’s new audio system also enables the presiding judge to control all speakers and microphones in the courtroom. When conversing with counsel on matters not meant for the jury to hear, the judge can turn off the main microphone and switch to a sidebar microphone. The court reporter, who wears a headset connected to the sidebar microphone, can still hear and record the sidebar without relocating any of the reporting equipment. All parties engaged in the sidebar can then speak at a normal volume without the rest of the court overhearing the discussion.

The audio system also allows for recording and instant playback of all courtroom proceedings – a highly desirable function that helps to ensure clarity and accuracy during legal proceedings.

System installation and subsequent training for Alachua County Courthouse staff members was completed in July 2004.

Video Conferencing System:

Belden Composite Plenum Video Cable

Panasonic CCTV Cameras & Multiplexers

Panasonic 42” Plasmas Monitors & 27” CRT Monitors

Enhanced Audio System:

Clear One XAP Mixers

Crown Microphones

Dell Computers

Extron MAV 32 Matrix

FTR Gold Software

JBL Speakers

Middle Atlantic Racks

Rane Amplifiers

Sennheiser Receivers

Shure Microphones

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About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

Ibrar Ayyub is an experienced technical writer with a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan University. He has written for various industries, mainly home automation, and engineering. He has a clear and simple writing style and is skilled in using infographics and diagrams. He is a great researcher and is able to present information in a well-organized and logical manner.

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