Georgia county uses video conferencing to help witnesses testify in trial

Tuesday, September 28 2010

Courtrooms in Dougherty County, Georgia, are set to save a pretty penny thanks to a new video conferencing system.

The system will save the county money by eliminating the need to pay travel expenses for subpoenaed witnesses who are called to appear in court. Instead, witnesses who are called to testify can appear remotely via video conferencing. The system could save the county as much as $10,000 a year on travel and hotel expenses to bring in witnesses, WALB News reports.

"It will allow witnesses that are needed in court to be video conferenced in as opposed to paying for travel for them to be physically in court, which will reduce our expense," Michael McCoy, assistant Dougherty County administrator, told the news station.

The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which totals more than $376,700, will pay for the system and allow the county to hire another worker in the District Attorney's Office, two measures that will help the Georgia county save even more.

Dougherty County isn't the only court system to begin using video conferencing. Prisoners in several Maine counties are already appearing in court via video conference, and the technology is expanding across the country.