(4-12-04). New courtroom technology speeds justice"The gadgets in an episode of the Jetsons cartoon series are no match for the technology in 410th state District Judge Michael Mayes' courtroom. From satellite feeds connected to the jail to displaying evidence for jurors, new courtroom technology is clearing the overloaded courts with a newfound efficiency.
"As far as I know, my courtroom is the only one in Texas that uses all the forms of technology," Mayes said Thursday. Harper's Landing residents at a temporary injunction hearing last week experienced the benefits first hand. "We had a full court that wanted to know what was going on," Mayes said. "So we used the video visualizer to post the documents up on the television screens." Witnesses in the hearing also viewed documents on a screen in the witness box when answering questions from the lawyers.
In a neighboring courtroom, an overflow crowd watched the hearing live from a satellite feed in the main courtroom. The 410th District courtroom contains seven television screens, including a couple in the jury box, allowing jurors to view evidence up close while it is being discussed. "It saves us a ton of time with jury exhibits," Mayes said. "We used the screen in a murder trial to show the jury bullet striations."