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Audiovisual Control

The digital evidence presentation system serves as the heart of the embedded 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.

However, the court maintains direct control of audio and visual distribution at all times during courtroom presentations through a Crestron control system and its application software. The bailiff, and if necessary, the judge can instantaneously mute or stop any audio or visual presentation.

The Crestron application screen enables the courtroom bailiff to control and route all the audio and visual presentation equipment within the courtroom. This includes all input and output for courtroom microphones, video, VCR, DVD, ELMO, projector, computers, and volume.

Realtime Transcription

Technologies which support the making of a court record are evolving at a rapid pace. The Court has an obligation to make an accurate record of all proceedings and to ensure that the ability to do so is preserved into the long-term future.

In 2001, Administrative Directive 2001-1 (Strategic Plan for Making the Court's Record) established a strategy for making the record which recognized the need to keep pace with advances in technology, provide efficient service to the citizens of Delaware, and help Court employees adapt to the new requirements stemming from the evolution of tools and expectations in the field of court reporting.

The plan assigned responsibility for the management of record-making process in Superior Court. It addressed each of the methods of making a record, the deployment of technology resources, the assignment of court reporters, and an explanation of transcript preparation.

The court's official record is maintained by court reporters who use traditional reporting methods as well as interactive realtime transcription. Realtime reporting combines the traditional transcription of court reporters with cutting-edge technology to enable courtroom participants to see speech as soon as they hear it.

In the courtroom, realtime provides simultaneous translation of testimony directly onto our linked projection system and computer screens. The results are similar to closed-caption text on television. Currently, the two most popular programs that can support realtime feeds are LiveNote and Summation.

Realtime demands a higher level of skill from court reporters and requires that new terminology and proper nouns be loaded into a reporter's dictionary before the proceedings begin, so that the Realtime output will be easy to read by the participants. On November 4, 1999, the judges of Superior Court endorsed a goal of having all the Court's reporters able to do Realtime court reporting.

In a realtime setup, the court reporter's stenographic keyboard is connected to the reporter's notebook computer, which is running a realtime software program that translates the stenographic symbols into words. In court, realtime transcription from the court reporter can be directed to monitors at the Judge’s bench and jury box. With required software, attorneys can also connect to this computer (either with a serial cable or via the Internet) to receive a transcript that keeps pace with the testimony. For the setup to work, the users must have the same or compatible realtime software as the reporter.

This technology allows the judge and counsel to view testimony on their computer screens as it is taken, to highlight testimony, code issues online, to mark and annotate key sections for later use, and generate comments to linked co-counsel as the testimony is taken. This technology empowers courtroom participants with instantaneous access to proceedings as they are given. The court reporter can also provide the attorneys with an ASCII disk of the data at the conclusion of the day's proceedings.

As of December 31, 2001, all Superior Court reporters provide Realtime transcription.

Digital Audio Recording


Selected proceedings in this courtroom are archived using an FTR Gold digital audio recording system. This technology creates a verbatim record without the use of a court reporter.

The FTR product captures, stores, manages, replicates, and disseminates digital audio files. Multiple channels are used to allow for individual recording of each person. In addition to recording the proceeding, the clerk or judge can make separate private annotations that are stored along with the recording. Once stored on the server the recording can be accessed via any PC on the LAN and potentially distributed to external entities via a diskette, network or Web site.

Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing has been used in the court for more than a decade. Traditionally, it was initially used for a limited number of purposes, primarily arraignments, remote witness testimony, and in-state administrative meetings.

The technology demonstrated an excellent return on investment for a wide range of court activities. More recently, videoconferencing has emerged as an essential element of our integrated courtroom technology. Our in-court videoconferencing is seamlessly integrated into the courtroom configuration.

Automated Sentencing Order Program (ASOP)

The Superior Court of Delaware is now using technology to streamline criminal justice. The Court, in cooperation with the Administrative Office of the Courts, has implemented a GUI Windows-based Automated Sentencing Program (ASOP).

On March 27, 2000, ASOP went into full statewide production. The implementation stage began in Delaware's Kent and Sussex Counties and became statewide with the addition of the New Castle County Superior Court in January 2000.

The ASOP application enables the court to issue sentencing orders almost simultaneously with a judge's pronouncement. Previously it would take days to disseminate the information to all criminal justice agencies. Sentencing data is electronically filed and transferred within minutes to prisons and other agencies. Defendants receive a complete copy of their sentencing order in the courtroom. Criminal histories also are updated for future court proceedings.

The results are impressive. Updated criminal records are available at the time of sentencing. With the click of a button, the judge can view the criminal history of the defendant. Prison authorities will receive the order electronically before the defendant even arrives for incarceration.

Likewise, the Probation and Parole Department will now have an order on file in advance of a defendant showing up to begin probation. Another benefit is putting updated information into the hands of police officers on patrol.