Web conferencing streamlines court hearings

Friday, October 19 2012

The use of web conferencing is growing within courtrooms. The software allows judges to hear more cases per day and eliminates the cumbersome security procedures for shuttling inmates from prisons to courthouses.

New York City officials believe that the technology makes legal proceedings safer overall. Stephen Morello, a Correction Department spokesman, told the New York Daily News in 2011, "It is helpful, since reducing inmate movement can reduce the security risks of transporting inmates."

Other states have implemented video conferencing to speed hearings along, especially during special cases that require multiple meetings. Due to recent evidence tampering accusations in Massachusetts, hundreds of criminal cases are expected to be reopened.

The Associated Press reported that Judge Christine McEvoy met with inmates via web conferences on October 15th to set bail and probation terms until their cases were resolved. The large volume of meetings required Massachusetts courts to eliminate much time as possible from the proceedings.

As more prisons and courtrooms are outfitted with audio video conferencing software and equipment, a greater number of legal challenges will likely be heard remotely. The ability to meet hear more cases, while reducing security risks can benefit all parties involved in cases that use web conferencing.