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Using Multimedia in Legal Proceedings



Defense counsel: If it pleases the court, the defendant offers witness Edward Diamond’s deposition into court. The deposition excerpts contains evidence relevant to this case.
Plaintiff’s counsel: Objection, your honor, we request that the witness be present to give his testimony
Defense counsel: Your honor, the witness is out of state and unavailable to testify here today.
Plaintiff’s counsel: Your honor, the witness is available
Witness (Edward Diamond): Good morning your honor.
Judge: Good morning, Mr. Diamond
Defense counsel: Your honor, we still object since it is necessary to have his testimony under oath and there is no one with the witness to administer the oath in person.
Plaintiff’s counsel: Your honor, a court reporter is with the witness and as an officer of the court is ready and able to administer the oath. Further, the court reporter will take down the witness’s testimony and transmit to our court via real-time transcription.
Judge: Everything seems proper, would the court reporter please administer the oath to the witness and let the testimony begin.
Given that judges, counsel and witnesses need not be in the same location, the possibility of trials in which no physical commodity is present is obvious - and real. Today’s technology is such that we are unintentionally on the road to at least the capability for, if not the actuality of, virtual trials and virtual courtrooms. Whether the result is a desirable destination, an unfortunate detour, or a one-way to disaster is far from clear. What is clear is that we are on the way. - The Road to the Virtual Courtroom - Frederic I Lederer, Director Courtroom 21.

This type of “virtual” witness videoconferencing is beginning to be used in courts across the country. The witness and court reporter are connected to the “court” using ISDN or other broadband connection lines. With the cost barriers rapidly diminishing, the use of video conferencing for client contact, depositions, witness testimony and many other uses will increase greatly. For further discussion on videoconferencing refer to Chapter 4, The Internet and Telecommunications; Chapter 6, and Chapter 7, Videoconferencing.


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