The importance of court room video conferencing

You heard it (read it) on the Grapevine

The importance of court room video conferencing

June 25, 2012
whyGo Gazette

The gradual development of more sophisticated and widely available systems for video conferencing and telepresence solutions has led to the implementation of these devices and set-ups in some unlikely places. We have kept a close eye on the use of video conferencing in business and institutions of all kinds - we've seen video connections in hospitals, doctor's offices, and other healthcare locations; we've seen it being used to connect students to remote educators for lectures and more; it's even shown up in museums to promote exhibits and allow remote parties a look into new and exciting information. One of the most interesting places this technology has popped up, however, is in the court rooms. Video conferencing is now being used all over the world as an alternative to travel and in-person interactions between inmates, defendants, and all parties related to trials and judgment.

Improving Efficiency

Video conferencing in court rooms and prisons isn't just for ease of use. The fact of the matter is that most court systems are already dealing with the burden of heavy backlogs of cases and other matters. Anything that can be used to speed things up is a boon for this sector of government. That's why video conferencing has made such a profound difference - instead of waiting for a certain date or time when there are police officers available to transport inmates or other parties to a hearing or court case, remote communications technology can be used to cut out transportation entirely.

The result is a court system that deals with more hearings per day in a quicker and more efficient manner. Inmates can get on with their lives faster and pursue parole, probation, or other solutions for their future in a more timely manner. We sincerely hope that video conferencing has the capacity to break through the barriers of months-long waiting periods between simple hearings and practices.

Saving Money 

Video conferencing systems also save the prisons, the courts, and the police a large amount of money. Police are often tasked with transporting inmates long distances for even the shortest of hearings and other events - this eats up money spent on gas, payment for employees, and so on. Especially when prisons and courts are expected to accommodate for the financial strains related to an inmate's court proceedings, money can really disappear quickly. Video conferencing systems generally only cost an initial payment that is often covered by government grants in the hopes that it will improve practices and save money over time. In this case, the government would be absolutely right - video conferencing and telepresence systems will pay for themselves in less than a year, and have been shown to save millions of dollars in only a year's worth of use.

Other Benefits

The use of video conferencing in court rooms also improves security. If any inmate is deemed to be dangerous or otherwise unstable, keeping him or her at the prison and connecting them to the court room via video conferencing is a much more secure way of moving along trials and hearings.

We hope to see whyGo corporate account as an even more common solution in the court rooms in the months and years to come.

Video conferencing supports rural court systems

The use of video conferencing and telepresence technology in court rooms and prisons to increase productivity and security in the judicial system has been widely discussed. Most every area of the world now has examples of video conferencing equipment in judicial proceedings; whether it's to connect an inmate with a lawyer, to connect a defendant to a trial, or to call a remote witness, video chats have improved functionality in a major way. It's an especially important tool in rural areas - in places where inmates may be located upwards of 100 miles away from a court room or other office of importance; there's a lot of time and money spent on transportation. A recent story published on FierceOnlineVideo looks at how video conferencing in court rooms benefits the state of Nebraska, and perhaps more importantly, how the lack thereof creates problems:

"The technology has filtered out to some rural court venues but not all have installed the technology, meaning a sheriff frequently must drive four hours and 200 miles to present a juvenile for a five-minute court appearance-and then drive back, The Associated Press reported."

Beyond the massive amount of time spent on transporting rural persons related to courtroom proceedings, the lack of proper video conferencing setups in rural areas means that budgets are running very tight. Money spent on gas and workforce to transport people causes a real strain on monthly expenses. When some of these hearings in far-away areas can take as little as five to ten minutes, the lack of a video conferencing system in place proves to be a very inefficient situation. It's important to find ways for the technology to spread to even the most remote regions so that less money and less time is spent on unnecessary travel.

Video conferencing could replace in-person jail visitation for some

The amount of resources needed to effectively run a jail may be more than you generally think. Personnel are needed around the clock for a variety of duties, not the least of which is inmate transportation. Visitation rights are an important part of the prison system, but the practices associated with connecting inmates to visitors can really sap resources from other areas of the institution. That's why many jails all over the world have been looking to video conferencing as an alternative to in-person visitation. A recent story from Florence, Alabama shows how the Lauderdale County Detention Center may soon convert to this system for visitation, and they're just one such example of many.

The proposed system would allow family members and other loved ones of inmates to log into a system from their home computer to interact with the inmate on a virtual meeting screen. It would work a lot like a normal visitation with the exception of the in-person presence. Since there are already limitations in place regarding contact between visitors and inmates, the use of video conferencing isn't too much of a stretch.

The benefits of this system are manifold. It improves security across the board - visitation has always been eyed as somewhat of a security dilemma, especially when discussing the topic of contraband. It frees up police officers and other workers to oversee other aspects of running the jail. It also saves people money otherwise spent on travel and transportation. It's a thoroughly more efficient process than the present setup.

It might not be too outlandish to suspect that video conferencing may become a norm for jail visitation in the coming years. Tell us your thoughts!

Video conferencing is spreading to court rooms worldwide

The development of video conferencing technology has led to many improvements in practices all over the world. Businesses, educators, healthcare providers, governments, and many other institutions have been able to adopt the remote communications tools as an alternative to travel and less comprehensive forms of remote connectivity. The benefits of video conferencing are manifold - users are able to express more ideas in a more natural environment, for one. This is just one of the reasons that court rooms all over the world have slowly been integrating video conferencing technology into their practices. The most recent example of this can be seen in Ukraine, where the government has signed laws allowing citizens to participate in trials through video conferencing.

The article explains that citizens now have the right to participate in civil, economic, and administrative cases through the use of video conferencing. This means that users can connect from their homes or offices to systems that will be placed in courts around the country to weigh in and participate without the need for physical presence.

Saving Money, Saving Time

One of the huge draws to a setup like this is the fact that it saves people money. Oftentimes courts and police forces have to spend out of their own pocket for transportation of important figures in trials; likewise, individuals will often be spending money themselves for transport to and from court rooms and similar facilities. Video conferencing setups are generally a one-time investment that pays off in spades.

Beyond that - and perhaps even more importantly for courts - it saves time. Scheduling instantly becomes easier, and the time spent on getting to and from a physical location is eliminated entirely. The result is an undeniably more efficient court room - cases can be moved through in much faster periods of time, and this is an extremely important factor to consider for courts all over the world. Backup in the courts is a real problem, and anyone anywhere can tell you that.

Other Benefits

Although the story from Ukraine focuses on civil and economic cases by and large, many court rooms have adopted and are considering adopting the use of video conferencing and telepresence technology for all forms of trials, including criminal cases. In the instance of a criminal case, video conferencing presents an extra benefit - increased security. The need for secure transport of defendants and anyone else with a history of criminal behavior is both expensive and dangerous. Allowing them to connect remotely from prisons means that the court's security remains intact, there are no concerns about transportation, and everything can transition smoothly.

Looking Ahead

Of course, the world has a long way to go before whyGo corporate account is a staple of court rooms. There are legitimate reasons for officials to be hesitant about the setup; remote testimony and things of that nature can be a little more difficult for judges and juries to process, and the technology is still not flawless. However, the benefits definitely outweigh the pitfalls, and the fact that more and more stories all over the world keep popping up suggests that this new feature of trials is here to stay.

"Accelerating Justice": Video Conferencing's Effect on Court Rooms

Justice systems are some of the most important institutions in governments all over the world. They provide nations with a process for handling criminal activity and civil disputes in a way that aims to be as fair as possible to everyone involved. Unfortunately, these systems are hardly every flawless. One of the biggest problems facing justice systems worldwide is the back log of cases that keeps trials, hearings, and other court room proceedings moving along at a sluggish pace. Potential offenders must often wait months or even years to face trial for their actions. This causes all manner of concerns, from questions of public security to jail crowding and much more. Thankfully, technology has a way of making practices of all kinds more efficient, and court rooms can benefit in a major fashion. Video conferencing is being introduced to court rooms and justice systems all over the globe as a new means of speeding up practices and getting more work done in a day. An article on Urgent Communications calls it "accelerating justice". Reporter Donny Jackson explains some of the subject matter of a recent Cisco-sponsored press conference on improving court room practices in his writing:

"In Florida, the Ninth Circuit Court is using video conferencing to virtual remote interpreting, which enables interpreters to participate in courtroom proceedings without having to travel to the physical location of the court, said Matt Benefiel of the Ninth Circuit Court. Before video conferencing, this circumstance required extensive use of contract interpreters, but those expenses have decreased markedly with the new approach, he said."

Cut Out Travel

Scheduling is tough to do for anyone, no matter what the circumstance may be. There are a great many factors to consider when aiming to meet with other parties for anything from business to pleasure; court room proceedings are no different. Getting a judge, lawyer(s), defendant, witnesses, and more in the same place at the same time is downright difficult to accomplish. That's why video conferencing stands to make such a difference. Using remote communications technology, people related to a given case can weigh in from nearly any location. Courts have embraced remote hearings in a variety of places and on a variety of levels. High-profile cases and traffic hearings alike have reaped the benefits of this setup.

Cutting down on travel also saves money. Justice systems do not have the most luxurious budgets, and anything that they can do to cut down on costs associated with delivering justice in an efficient manner is great news for the public and everyone involved.

More Security

One of the big criticisms of the slowness of court room proceedings is that it often leaves potentially dangerous criminals either free or in an uncertain position. Anyone whose bail can be posted has the ability to spend a potentially long amount of time in the free world before having justice dealt out. Speeding up proceedings minimizes these risks.

Another thing to consider is that when an inmate or other dangerous individual is supposed to be present at a court room, law enforcement officers are required to escort them to the premises. Using video conferencing instead opens up more law enforcement personnel so that they can perform their regular duties instead of wasting time on transportation.

whyGo corporate account is a must-have for court rooms all over the world. There is absolutely no question that it stands to make a significant difference in the way that justice systems function. We hope to see its popularity continuing to rise in the near future.

Los Angeles test driving video conferencing for public hearings

Video conferencing is useful for a lot more than just run-of-the-mill business and personal communications. It has seeped its way into a wide range of environments to add support and open up the door for new opportunities. A recent news story from Los Angeles is a good example of this growth and spread - the city will be test driving online video conferencing at a civic meeting to demonstrate how the technology could allow residents to offer public input at hearings and discussions about city issues. The Daily Breeze reports:

"The technology will allow the public to use video conferencing software such as Skype or Microsoft Lync to give testimony at committee meetings, where the bulk of public feedback on city issues is taken, Bonin said. He said he will work with the city's information technology staff to refine the process."

Mike Bonin, a Los Angeles city councilman, is offering the citizens of Los Angeles a unique opportunity to get involved with their local government. As important as committee meetings are, they don't often boast high levels of attendance due to the inconvenience of travel amidst all of our other daily responsibilities, especially considering they often take place on weekdays. With video conferencing, residents can optimize their time and provide input without having to commit to a two-way commute and extensive meeting proceedings.

It is our hope that this trial runs smoothly and that Los Angeles adopts the technology on a full-time basis; it could certainly improve the quality of the city if more residents had the ability to provide input, and it seems like video conferencing is just the solution.

Video conferencing may help a closing court branch

The costs associated with maintaining courts and processing civil and criminal cases have created problems for justice systems all over the world. The need for transportation of everyone involved in the cases is only one roadblock of many in cutting down costs. As a result, some court branches have been struggling - a recent article from the Marshfield News-Herald tells the story of one such branch that is facing closure. However, video conferencing may be a solution that could impact this court branch in a positive way. Reporter Liz Welter writes:

"Video conferencing is among travel-saving options being explored pending the imminent closure of the Wood County Circuit Court office in Marshfield. ... MPD officers often are present during court proceedings and videoconferencing would save the department travel and overtime costs."

The high cost of maintaining the branch (the article lists it as being around $30,000) could be significantly cut down on through the use of remote court proceedings. Transporting police officers, defendants, lawyers, and more costs money that the branch clearly doesn't have, so these alternative solutions are some of the only options left in keeping it open.

Video conferencing has been proven to be successful in court rooms in many other areas of the country and the world. It's even being utilized in high-profile cases, such as with the Norway shooter Anders Breivik. It may not be a perfect solution, but since court cases need to continue happening, it should be strongly considered in Marshfield.

Stay tuned to hear more about how video conferencing can improve court room proceedings in all areas of the world!

Video conferencing helps move court case forward

Court systems all across the world suffer from backlog troubles due to various circumstances. Whether defendants fail to appear, delays are made to dates, or other extraneous circumstances occur, cases are continually being prolonged and pushed back. This is especially true of international cases where defendants may be located remotely. But video conferencing has the potential to alleviate some of the backlog in courts all around the world. A recent report from London describes how an important witness in a Pakistan's memo scandal will appear in London via video conferencing to testify.

The witness, Mansoor Ijaz, had previously failed to appear in court a number of times, an act that threatened to derail the entire investigation. But now, the courts are allowing him to present a recorded statement via a video conferencing link that would not require him to travel. The Chief Justice in charge of the case decreed that recording Ijaz's statement through video link would resolve issues of "security, travel expenses, and prestige of the commission".

This is just a single example of how effective the technology can be in expediting the court process. An absent witness is only one potential element that could hold up a case; a number of other possible obstacles could be conquered through the use of video conferencing. We have already seen it implemented as a tool to connect prisoners to court rooms without risking transportation or spending an excessive amount of money.

Video conferencing can connect remote parties without inconveniencing them with travel or extraneous expenses. If the software and hardware is in place, the effort involved in participating in a video link is minimal. Smart application of the technology could significantly improve the courts process all over the world - hopefully, this international case will give that fact some attention.

Video conferencing launched in Indian district courts and jails

The effectiveness of video conferencing as an alternative to travel in justice systems worldwide has been slowly gaining attention over the past couple of years, and every few weeks, it seems like another area of the world is giving it a shot. Now, The Indian Express reports that Chandigarh district courts and a Burail jail are using video conferencing to handle a variety of cases in order to speed things up and cut down on costs. The article explains:

"On the occasion, cases of 21 undertrials were heard by duty magistrate Sukhda Pritam. The accused who await challans to be submitted by the police will be heard through video-conferencing from now on between 2 and 2.30 pm every day by the duty magistrate."

It is also worth noting that the state will not only save money from this setup, but it will also improve security measures across the board. Less personnel will be required to accompany accused, and more efforts can be spent in securing other areas of concern. This setup is truly a win-win for everyone involved.

The only concerns that remain are those of quality and ease of use. It is our hope that the video conferencing tools used by the district will function admirably and that any technical difficulties are far outweighed by the efficiency of the system. With over 50 daily instances of video conferencing-based hearings, it is understandable that there may be a few hiccups here and there - this should not discourage anyone from continuing with its use, however. We hope to hear an update on this in the coming months!

Video conferencing saves Russian supreme court millions

Though there have been intermittent reports of video conferencing being used in court rooms and prisons to facilitate a faster court case process for all parties involved, its success on a large scale has, until recently, gone unreported. A recent report released by Polycom, however, announced that their RealPresence video conferencing technology was able to save the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation over $50 million in annual costs associated with traveling by offering remote communications in the court process.

The technology was reportedly used in over 600,000 court cases since its implementation, averaging about 800 cases per day. The opportunity to create a robust remote network that helps court officials, lawyers, and other parties work towards faster, more definitive solutions is something that should be attractive to all courts around the world, especially in trying economic times. The article explains further how the technology was used, saying:

"The Court uses video technologies for a number of judicial sessions including consultations, meetings with the President and Government of the Russian Federation, and communication among lawyers and relatives of the accused. Polycom's video solutions provide the highest levels of communication security and safety necessary for court operations, as well as the audio-visual quality needed to clearly discern people's expressions and the minutest of gestures. Sometimes in a Court situation, however, the visual quality needs to be intentionally degraded so that people remain anonymous."

Perhaps Polycom's success in the Russian court system will urge other video conferencing service providers to reach out to similar institutions in other areas of the world in hopes of creating another large-scale network for court room scenarios. It would certainly be beneficial to governments to investigate the potential benefits of these systems, in any case.

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