Web-based case management is a direct result of today’s advanced technology. A large number of the court system’s lawyers, judges, legal administrators, and administrative support personnel are using cutting-edge word processors, electronic legal research, time and billing programs, and increasingly, varying forms of case management software. Web-based case management is the idea of the future. According to Lederer, “Modern case management requires systems that help courthouse personnel manage the flow of cases” (1999, p. 803). As of April 1998, the Courtroom 21 Project had verified eight state facilities and 32 federal facilities used some version of web-based case management. (p. 804). To assist the legal system and the general population with information on how to use the available technology, Courtroom 21 has implemented two programs, the Court Affiliates Program (CAP) and the Courtroom Information Project (CIP).
The CAP are state, federal, and foreign courts seeking to apply useful, efficient, and economical courtroom and related technology to enhance the search for justice (Flythe, 2013, para. 3). The goal of the Court Affiliates Program is the exchange of accurate information. The Courtroom Information Project is designed to give courtroom participants the visual and technological information they need in preparing for trial in any participating courtroom in the United States by providing free public viewing of web-accessible photos and accompanying explanatory information about the nation’s courtroom (para. 4). This part of the projects deal with the visual media and the presentation. Web-based case management is an emerging trend that will benefit courtrooms across the judicial system. Modern courtrooms are beginning to use advanced technology in court proceedings.
More courtrooms are setting up video monitors for the judge’s bench and each counsel table as well as main video screens for the jury and spectators (Guadalupe, Mclaughlin, & Marcus, 2013). Integrating video and digital display technology gives trial attorneys many capabilities to effectively portray their case. Defense attorneys and prosecutors can exchange numerous documents before and during the trial in a digital format (District Court Ohio, 2013). Lawyers can easily search and present the documents in digital format on video screens. Powerful digital projectors effectively display the evidence for the judge and jury (Federal Judicial Center, 2013). The video and digital display enables attorneys to demonstrate a crime scene by pointing to scenes on a monitor and showing movement by using a pointer. If a witness cannot not physically testify in the courtroom, a live video presentation can be shown for the trial or hearing. An attorney can enhance his argument by creating a slide show using video and digital technology (District Court Ohio, 2013).
Advanced technology can benefit all aspects of court proceedings. As previously mentioned, technology today has provided intelligent methods for data management in respect to court cases. A virtual court room would need a virtual stenographer to manage data on the record. There have been real-time systems that have been developed with speech recognition so transcripts can be transmitted digitally (Lederer, 1999, p. 809). The speech recognition software takes out the middle-man of a stenographer. As Lederer stated, “Because the transcript is electronic, it can be transmitted over telephone lines, or published on the web for real-time viewing” (1999, p. 809). The convenience of having the transcripts online benefits the hearing impaired; allowing the disabled to read the transcripts as the words are scrolled across the screen. A virtual stenographer program is just another advantage of moving to a virtual courtroom.
The “Futures Watch: Emerging Trends For Courts” (2013) website addresses the issue of utilizing computer software in the process of sentencing criminals. This computer software developed to use algebraic equations in order to determine sentencing standards. A common thought is by implementing software designed to analyze the facts of court cases it will be possible to handout standardized criminal sentences. Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, DC jurisdictions utilize software called Sentencing Guidelines Software Web (SGS Web) developed by Cross Current Corporation. Programs like SGS Web are aiding courts in maintaining an even and standard set of sentences and taking the possibility of human emotion or prejudice out of the equation. Advanced technology is an emerging trend in court proceedings, the concept of a virtual courtroom may be in the near future.
Federal Judicial Center, (2013). Effective use of courtroom technology: a judge’s guide to pretrial and trial. Federal Judicial Center Publication, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Retrieved from www.jud14.flcourts.org/Technology/Integrated%20Courtroom%20Tech.
Flythe, T. (2013, Fall). The Courtroom 21 Project: A Light At The End Of The Legal
Technology Tunnel . FindLaw, 0236(), . Retrieved from
Futures Watch: Emerging Trends for Courts. (2013). Retrieved from http://nasje.org/business/committee-fa.htm Guadalupe, D. R., Mclaughlin, N & Marcus, P.A., (2013) New trial technology changes the courtroom. Commerce, Retrieved from www.cianj.org
Lederer, Fredric I., “The Road to the Virtual Courtroom? A Consideration of Today’s – and
Tomorrow’s — High Technology Courtrooms” (1999). Faculty Publications. Paper 212.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (2013) Courtroom Technology, Retrieved from http://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/home/courtroom-support/courtroom-technology/