By Michael Grohs, Contributing Editor
It’s all caught on film. Whether it is an act of tragedy or idiocy, humor or horror, or just something cute, it seems to be captured on camera and able to be shared. The use of video technology is only going to expand, and courts are moving fast to adopt and adapt. As Fred Lederer, director of the Center for Legal and Court Technology (CLCT) points out, aside from the traditional uses, there is now also the matter of social media on which, for some reason, people post evidence of crimes they have committed. There is the recent push for police body cameras, so video evidence can be used to monitor the potential abuse of police powers. (PESA is about to experiment on taking that a step further.) In 2013, the world saw footage of the Chelyabinsk meteor as it blasted into the atmosphere and exploded over Russia and released 20 times more kinetic energy than the bomb used in Hiroshima. The incident was captured on numerous dash cams used to record incidents of he said/he said traffic accidents and incidents of corruption and shakedowns. There is now also the matter of Google Glass and drones and the fear of the end of privacy. Says Lederer, “All of this will flood the courts.”
The trends move quickly and require consideration. A current trend, says Lederer, has been heading to being “device independent.” That way the participants do not need an entire and expensive system to participate in proceedings. CLCT holds experimental trials in its mock courtroom. One of the recent ones have been the world’s first remote juror in which they placed a monitor in their own jury box on which they could see her face and a coder/decoder in the juror’s house. There is now also the ability to use high end tablets and phones for video conferencing. No matter what hardware a participant is using, he or she can participate. In Philadelphia, the U.S. District Court presents evidence on Android tablets using video streaming. The report is that it has been successful. While not a “trend” per se, says Lederer, there is enormous interest around the world.
Malcolm Macallum, Chief Operating Officer/CTO at VIQ Solutions, Inc. explains a scenario in which during a felony case with a remote expert witness, the accused could be in custody and require transcription and be monitored by other defense lawyers. The courtroom could have one three-screen video conferencing system on which the accused appeared from prison on the left screen, an expert witness could provide evidence on the right screen, and the center screen could be a witness who is in protective custody. If the defense team were large and not able to attend, using their authentication credentials provided by the court, they could log on to a remote VIQ satellite and observe the trial, make notes, and confer.
Video conferencing is not just for courts. Video is a primary component of correctional visitation. As JoAnn De Jesus, marketing communications manager at Telmate says, “Going to a facility for an in-person visit can be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and even intimidating, especially for small children. With remote video visits, friends and family can say goodbye to long drives, uncomfortable waits, and harsh surroundings as they experience personal, remote visits from the comfort of their own home.”
Another new video development is PESA’s Acquire, Collaborate, Explain, and Secure (A.C.E.S.), a two- or five-channel video system with the flexibility to add more. The system is able to be used in courtrooms as well as other arenas such as remote hearings, depositions, etc. A.C.E.S. is currently being used in a pilot program at a local municipal police department in which it will be installed on dashboards in police cruisers and will capture footage and be able to live stream it to headquarters. That footage can later be enhanced, annotated, shared, and discussed. John Wright of PESA, says, “The pilot is on a small scale to determine what technology is needed and to scale it up from that point.”
Latest Video Technologies
GTL provides video conferencing products and services to courts so that arraignments of incarcerated citizens can be conducted with greater efficiency. The video conferencing equipment resides in the courtroom at a judge’s desk or in another private room where the judge conducts arraignments, as well as in correctional facilities. Rather than standing before the judge in person, inmates connect over the video equipment, thereby eliminating much of the cost, manpower, time, and safety risk of the traditional arraignment process. It allows courts to comply with the legal requirement of conducting arraignments with the accused present while greatly increasing operational efficiency.
GTL also offers a unique dual-application kiosk that allows public defenders to have video meetings with inmates before their trial and allows inmates to access case files during and after these calls via a touch screen interface. With this system, the inefficiencies and risks of either requiring public defenders to go to correctional facilities for meetings or transporting inmates to public defenders’ offices are eliminated. The system is unique in the industry, enabling professional visits between attorneys and inmates awaiting trial and displaying documents pertaining to the case on the inmate kiosk.
Finally, GTL is under contract in a Mid-Atlantic state to deploy a system that allows court administrators to schedule a meeting between a judge and an inmate housed at one of the state prisons and to conduct that meeting via a video unit or an in-person visit. This system addresses the needs to increase operational efficiency in scheduling and conducting follow-up meetings between judges and inmates who have already been convicted of a crime.
www.gtl.com ? 952.931.0775 ? Tim.Eickhoff@gtl.net
PESA’s Acquire, Collaborate, Explain, and Secure (A.C.E.S.) system combines their XSTREAM C58 or C22 streaming media appliance with VIQ software for file capture and management capabilities. The result is a comprehensive recording and playback system that simplifies collaboration. PESA’s A.C.E.S. solution architecture includes a regional server fed by fixed and/or mobile recording stations that automatically synchronize files. Systems can also include a fixed or cloud-based optional central repository. Remote collaboration is enabled via VIQ’s AccessPOINT Portal, which provides secure, browser-based access to files. Along with on-site commissioning and installation, the system can also include customized user interfaces, online training, and transcription services. Housed in a compact, 1 RU form factor, the C58 simultaneously encodes up to five independent video sources and eight audio sources for H.264 IP distribution with no sync or latency issues. The C22 supports two video and two audio streams. VIQ’s software offers advanced database technology to simplify logging, searching, annotations, and chain of evidence, and allows integration with third-party case management systems. The system can be used in courtroom recording, for secure evidence capture and distribution, witness and suspect interviews, officer performance review, search and rescue, as well as for medical and educational functions.
www.pesa.com ? 256.726.9200
Telmate allows correctional facilities and inmates benefits via their video visitation system. The system provides a high quality, safe, and convenient alternative to face-to-face visits. Inmates can visit with their loved ones without ever leaving their pod. This provides security for staff, and closes off a key avenue for contraband. Video-only communication ensures that staff members see everything that the inmates sees, which means that an inmate can’t use their body to shield hand signals or written messages from wall mounted cameras. Scheduling can easily be done online, so staff will no longer need to manually schedule visits, thus freeing them up for other tasks. A single web-based application allows staff to review inmate calls, video visits, set alarms, control access, and more from any Internet web browser or smart phone. Telmate video visits automatically use a proprietary identity verification system called Telmate Verified so staff always know who’s visiting whom. Video visits also incorporate facial biometrics and monitoring, which flag inappropriate behavior such as inmate extortion (passing the visit to someone else) or inappropriate conduct.
Telmate offers three types of video visits: on-site, remotely using personal computers, and remotely using mobile devices. Since so many facilities are remote, friends and family can get immediate and personal communication without the hassle and expense of traveling to the facility. Telmate offers friends and family with bilingual customer support 24 hours per day, seven days per week as well as an online help center to answer any questions.
www.telmate.com ? JoAnn De Jesus, 415.300.4315 ? firstname.lastname@example.org
VIQ’s AccessPOINT Collabor-ation Web Portal is a secure, web-accessible and easy-to-use tool for searching and replaying cases or portions of cases. It provides a mechanism for securely sharing and sharing ideas on cases between stakeholders whether it is judges, prosecutors or law enforcement. This portal comes customized to suit the court’s specific branding.
VIQ Satellite Tablet can be as advanced or as simple as you need. This product provides up to five video and eight audio channels when connected to a video appliance such as PESA’s xStream C-58. Simple or Advanced UIs can be run on a Microsoft Surface tablet, for example. This solution integrates popular video-conferencing systems such as those offered by the Telepresence or Tandberg systems. PC-based VC systems can also be easily integrated into the captured record as well.
VIQ iPhone Capture is one of VIQ’s smart phone UIs that provide simple to use yet secure AV capture and upload to the VIQ back office products or simply as a way of sharing cases information through the Web portals offered.
VIQ NetScribe Web Portal for those records that require a documented record. This transcription portal offers an entire workflow solution to transcription companies or transcribers. Due to the growth in video use this product now also utilizes video data.
www.viqsolutions.com ? email@example.com ? Phone: 1.800.263.9947