Electronic Gizmos Help Reduce Trial Time

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Every word spoken in the Columbia, S.C., courtroom where Branden Basham is on trial appears immediately on a compuer screen before U.S. District Judge Joseph Anderson, reports the Associated Press. Basham, accused in a woman’s 2002 abduction and death, is in one of three E-courtrooms in the new Matthew J. Perry Jr. Federal Courthouse. There are seven such courtrooms in South Carolina. Lawyers say the technology helps reduce trial time by making evidence display and tracking documents more efficient. The electronic courtroom includes monitors in the jury box, one between every two seats. There is a witness-box monitor with touch-screen features, and large-screen monitors for public viewing.

Lawyers estimate Basham’s trial will last up to six weeks. Prosecutor Scott Schools said it would be longer without the courtroom technology. Defense attorney Jack Swerling said the real-time transcription “helps us stay more on top of the case. You can get the printed version and review it at night.” The greatest timesaving feature is the evidence presentation system with the video monitors, Schools said.

Link: http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/9712564.htm

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