Courtroom Technology

The U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, is proud to have sixteen electronic courtrooms throughout the district. Our first electronic courtroom was installed in September, 1998 in the Howard M. Metzenbaum courthouse. When it opened, it was touted as the most technologically advanced courtroom in existence. The equipment in that courtroom has been moved to our new courthouse. In addition, the Administrative Office funded three additional courtrooms in the new courthouse. We also have electronic courtrooms in each of our locations in Akron, Toledo and Youngstown.

 

The streamlining of the litigation process through the implementation of advanced communication technologies has enhanced the Court's ability to meet the needs of the bar and the public, while preserving the dignity and fairness of the proceedings.

 

Since we are five times as likely to remember something we both see and hear, the audio/visual means of presentation implemented in the courtrooms increases both efficiency and juror comprehension.

 

With minimal training, attorneys can present photos, documents, objects, videotapes and electronic presentations to focus juror attention on critical details.

 

The Video Presenter cart serves as the heart of the well-concealed electronics in the courtroom. The system allows counsel to switch from displaying exhibits, realtime transcripts, video recordings or multimedia presentations with the push of a button.

 

Some of the advanced technology integrated into the courtrooms includes:

 

  • A document camera which can be used to display exhibits such as documents or medium-sized three-dimensional objects
  • VGA connections to display multimedia presentations or images from a portable computer allowing documents, images, etc. to be displayed on any monitor in the courtroom
  • A visual image printer to produce a 3"x 5" print of any image displayed through the system
  • On-screen drawing and highlighting to emphasize specific details for display throughout the courtroom
  • Realtime transcription from the court reporter can be directed to monitors at the judge's bench and counsel tables, with prior arrangements with the court reporter
  • 17" flat panel video displays located on each counsel table, on the Judge's bench, the courtroom deputy and court reporter desk, and between each pair of jurors to make visual display efficient
  • In addition to large flat plasma screens for gallery viewing, infrared listening assistance and translation is available to all participants

 

Technology-ready counsel tables provide quick-connect capability for data, voice, realtime transcription and video. Counsel can bring portable computer equipment to plug into discreetly concealed ports to access the electronics in the courtroom. The courtroom is augmented by fully integrated video and audio conferencing systems.

 

Two video-conferencing cameras are focused on the judge and witness, as well as the presenter at the lectern. A camera with pan, tilt and zoom capabilities and a gooseneck mounted camera at the witness box can also be accessed.

 

The equipment can be used for remote witness testimony, pretrial conferences or other court proceedings. The use of this technology is easily controlled from multiple touch panel controllers at the judge's bench and the lectern.