Video Court Recording

Archive for the ‘video court records’ Category

JAVS Launches New Flagship Device and Website


The original innovator in complete courtroom audio video solutions recently launched a game-changing new flagship audio video processor / mixer / controller called “Centro”. The new name incorporates the long-standing “CT” nomenclature — CenTro — while signifying their next-generation device is now the centerpiece of the most advanced and most complete audio video system available to courts, classrooms, boardrooms, city councils or any room where important proceedings take place — The JAVS System. The list of new and enhanced features is long and unmatched in the industry. According to one of JAVS key engineers on the Centro, Mark Naditch, an organization would need to purchase an estimated $16K worth of third party equipment along with likely expensive programming/integration fees to approximate all the functionality the Centro provides clients right out of the box for considerably less with minimal programming at no additional cost!

The New JAVS Centro AVP

Best of all, the Centro comes in three fully upgradable/expandable configurations. Starting with the “PX” configuration allowing for up to 8 Centro FlexMicrophones and 1 Centro FlexCamera all the way to 14 microphones and 10 cameras. JAVS VP of Engineering Andrew Green emphasizes that what clients get in the new Centro is 25 years of JAVS experience and learning about the specific elements of a live court proceeding or other similar venues. “Everything we’ve learned in the decades we’ve been designing mixers and audio video processors  for proceedings rooms is built into the Centro,” says Green. One of the most important areas where JAVS has now leap-frogged the competition is on the enterprise solution front. Andrew Green again explains, “We took our time making certain that the JAVS Suite 7 software system was rock solid  before we developed our enterprise-level solutions called Server 7 and Bookshelf 7. Bookshelf 7 is unlike any other digital recording enterprise archival solution available and we believe we’ve taken an approach that will work best for the great majority of clients.”

JAVS Centro FlexMic“People think we are a digital court recording company,” explains JAVS Global VP Jared Green. “And, we certainly are but that’s only about 10% of what we do so you really can’t compare our solutions to lower-end partial systems on the market that come at their solutions from the digital recording approach. JAVS has always taken a total solution approach that focuses as much on the live proceeding as it does on the recording, storage and delivery aspect. JAVS really makes everything in the room better from the Public Address and Assistive Listening to built-in 1/2/3  -Way Conferencing and available Digital Evidence Presentation that is recorded as part of the official record of the proceeding.”

JAVS Centro FlexCamRecently, JAVS celebrated an impressive 30 years of success as a provider of complete audio video solutions to the proceedings marketplace. While other companies have changed hands multiple times or appeared and reappeared as “penny stock” public companies with a seemingly never-ending roller coaster of approaches to the market, JAVS has steadily kept a focus on providing the very best possible solutions installed by their own expert teams and backed by their own national network of expert service technicians. No one else but JAVS would have dared to even attempt making such a substantial financial commitment to serving their clients. “That’s the advantage of having a single private owner over such a long period of time,” JAVS’ Founder and CEO David Green says about why his company approaches serving clients so differently. “Although JAVS success has afforded me a comfortable living for most of the past 30 years, I have never run the company to maximize profit. Rather, I have tried to run the company with the simple goal of trying to make things better for our clients and we have fortunately been able to keep doing that for a very long time while creating over 80 good paying jobs in Kentucky and around the United States.”

If you are exploring potential audio video management and digital recording solutions for your court, classroom, boardroom, police interview room or city government proceedings, then you owe it to yourself and to your stakeholders to fully understand why so many say that JAVS offers an infinitely better system. You can visit their brand new website at www.javs.com or you can go directly to The JAVS System on the website by clicking here. JAVS offers a free live web demo via GoToMeeting or Google+ Hangouts that you can register for on the website.

OpenCourt Live Court Video Streaming & Recording Upheld By Massachusetts SJC

In an important victory for court transparency and public access, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled in favor of  Boston public radio WBUR’s “OpenCourt” project that is partially funded by the Knight Foundation. At issue was a video camera that has been setup in a single Quincy District Court courtroom to allow court proceedings to be streamed live to the Internet. The audio feed for the live streaming is provided by the courts audio-only jAVS system that powers the courtroom’s public address system and makes a digital audio recording of each proceeding that is then stored as record of the court. The jAVS audio recordings have always been available to the public for a nominal fee. The adding of a video camera by the OpenCourt project and live streaming both the jAVS audio and the OpenCourt video over the Internet prompted (2) separate court challenges that went all the way to the state’s highest court. Obviously, those of us who advocate passionately for all courts everywhere to go video in order to provide the greatest possible access to the courts using the most appropriate technologies are very pleased with the SJC’s ruling in favor of providing both live and recorded court video for public access.

Here are some links to recent stories and a recorded radio segment about the cases from Boston’s WBUR radio, a NPR news station:

SJC Strikes Down Objections To Court Recordings by Jessica Alpert (Follow on Twitter: @JESSPRK)

WBUR Radio Segment on SJC Ruling (Follow on Twitter: @RadioBoston)

OpenCourts Project (Follow on Twitter: @OpenCourtUS)

jAVS, the provider of the audio feed for the OpenCourts project (Follow on Twitter: @jAVSinc)

As you would expect, I am a huge fan of the OpenCourts project and applaud the Knight Foundation, WBUR and NPR for supporting great public access to the courts!

Follow Me on Twitter: @kurtmaddox 

Toledo Court Goes Video, Leaves ‘Dinosaur Age’

VCR congratulates Lucas County, Ohio Common Pleas Court Judge Myron Duhart for implementing a state-of-the-art digital video court recording and digital evidence presentation system to serve the cause of justice in his busy courtroom. It goes without saying that making big changes always requires a certain amount of courage as well as the insights necessary to choose the right direction to bring about desired improvements. In courtroom after courtroom around the world, going video is producing desired improvements in court operation while creating substantial savings for the court during the most challenging budget environments in a generation. By making the decision to go video with his courtroom, absolutely everything that happens in Judge Duhart’s courtroom will be captured, preserved and nearly instantly available to litigants, their attorneys and other interested parties.

Lucas County Court of Common Pleas

Of course, even the very best changes can impact some folks negatively so going video always meets its share of resistance. When a court has traditionally utilized traditional professional Court Reporters, everyone understands that the court reporters will want to make their case that they provide a superior solution for making a record of court proceedings. Despite what might seem natural given this blogs advocacy for using video to create the official record of the court, I don’t believe that digital court recording is an enemy to professional court reporters. In fact, there are any number of examples where digital recording and traditional court reporters work in tandem to provide the best of both worlds to courts interested to take the a collaborative approach. Until voice recognition software that can convert audio to text gets a lot better, there will be strong demand for professional transcribers of court proceedings. A court transcript produced from a current generation video court record is a demonstrably superior transcript to a one produced by a live court reporter without the extensive training, high salary cost and predictable staffing difficulties associated with court stenographers.

“We’re just trying to move from the dinosaur age to the digital age,” Judge Myron Duhurt

Unfortunately, the data that court reporter supporters constantly reference when speaking to the media or presenting at conferences simply doesn’t wash upon closer inspection. It is true that there are lots of really talented and valuable court reporters providing excellent service to the courts that they serve each and every day. Where that’s working for folks and you have dependable and affordable court reporters available to your court, then there’s not likely any reason to make big changes. Still, if I am the judge or the court administrator in court reporter served courts, then wouldn’t it provide me with a lot more confidence to know that a non-intrusive audio video recording system is capturing every word and every raised eyebrow just in case?

You will notice here in the local article about Judge Durhart’s court going video that the National Court Reporters Association does a good job of getting their concerns voiced to the local reporter writing the story:

Court reporting goes digital, by Erica Blake

Fortunately, Judge Duhart has done his own homework and understands that all across Ohio and the rest of the world there are digital court recording systems busy capturing everything that happens in tens of thousands of courtrooms all day every day. When combined with current generation digital evidence presentation systems, today’s courtroom video solutions transform antiquated caves of jurisprudence into dynamic halls of modern justice. I encourage any court considering going video to do your own research, evaluate several leading video court recording systems and then decide what will work best for your unique circumstances.

Judge Durhart’s court engaged jAVS to help him create an exact solution for the unique requirements of his Lucas County Common Pleas Court. If you’d like jAVS to help you do the same for your court, send an email to solutions@javs.com so that a qualified video court specialist can answer all of your questions.

(If you liked this article then please visit the jAVS Facebook page and “like” us there and/or Follow Us on Twitter.)

Has Video in the Courtroom Reached a Tipping Point?

What started out as an experiment by a select few pioneering courts and entrepreneurs may be reaching what popular thinker Malcolm Gladwell calls a “tipping point”. According to Gladwell, once an “infectious idea” develops a rapidly self-perpetuating momentum within a human community then that idea has experienced a tipping point. The concept is borrowed from how biological viruses spread but the social and business manifestation of this phenomenon can just as easily be a positive idea as a negative one. In the academic world, these very different types of viruses are referred to as “memes”. (Pronounced like “genes”.) So what makes me believe that video as a primary technological tool of the global justice system has reached the point of rapid mass adoption? Simple. My daily Google feed on the phrases “digital court recording”, “video court recording”, “court video”, “cameras in the court”, “replace court reporters” and several other related search terms and the number of news articles on these topics has EXPLODED over the past 12 months. Courts from Mexico to Malaysia to Montgomery County, Ohio, USA are installing video cameras in their courts by the thousands for purposes ranging from video court recording to streaming live court proceedings directly to the Internet. In places like San Antonio, Texas, USA, you can settle minor infractions by going to “video court” using the courts video conferencing service from a website. As with any technology that reaches a point of no return, the real question today is not whether a particular court system SHOULD use video but why they are not already doing so!

Yes, I work for jAVS or Jefferson Audio Video Systems, one of the world’s leading court video companies. But jAVS can handle only so much of this global explosion so my advocacy of video in the courts goes beyond my selfish interest in my particular company’s success. As you would expect, our email inbox is ringing off the hook! However, I get most excited about seeing how cameras in the courtroom help normal everyday people around the world. I’m not just talking about the litigants, either. In court systems that are recording 100% of everything that happens inside a given courtroom, the resulting transparency and ease of access results in creating enormous value for the litigant AND for every citizen living in the communities served by those courts. Everyone involved in a court case — including judges, lawyers, litigants, defendants and witnesses — are more likely to be at their best when they know the cameras are on and that the video will be a matter of public record. When someone isn’t on their best behavior, the video record exists for folks to review and make up their own mind about any situation that might arise. Of course, video also provides an added layer of security inside the courtroom. Unfortunately, I have personally reviewed more than my share of court videos capturing violent attacks carried out inside a live courtroom. In my view, every citizen around the world should demand that cameras be installed in every courtroom ASAP and that every proceeding be recorded so that everyone can have the same confidence that justice is being served down at their local courthouse.

If you want to speak with a jAVS Specialist about your courts particular situation, just send an email to “solutions@javs.com” and let us know how we can help you succeed with your own plans for using video in your courts. Or, you can register now for a free webinar overview of how video in the court works on the jAVS website — www.javs.com.

There are many reasons why courts resist going video. Many of the reasons such as obtaining the funds to pay for the purchase of the right video solution are easy for anyone to understand. There are other reasons that aren’t as easy to justify since often installing video allows courts to realize enormous cost savings versus the traditional operations of the court. For example, courts that are brave enough to fully implement the “Kentucky model” of making the video recording the “official record of the court” can pay for their video systems with the resulting savings in MONTHS instead of the years it can take to pay for other technology investments.

“What about a transcript?”, you ask. Great question! With the wide availability of remote transcription services such as Arizona, USA based AVTranz, obtaining a full written transcript of any court video recording is literally just an email away. The real question is what in the world the court and, hence, the taxpayer, is doing in the court transcript business in the first place. Besides, only a fraction of any courts proceedings will ever need a transcript and it makes a lot more sense to provide an attorney with a video file they can easily have transcribed with internal resources or a professional transcription service than for the court to be paying for transcripts that no one will ever read. Plus, with a video recording, you can be confident that every word captured was exactly what was said in the courtroom. Maybe just as important, a video file gives a persons words their proper context. Retired Kentucky court video pioneer Judge Jim Chenault uses the example of the shortest verse in the Bible that reads, “Jesus wept.” Judge Chenault rightly suggests that you can take that verse and read it many ways. If you have the video, then can see the context of the words for yourself. I think that’s a big deal and I think most citizens and taxpayers in most communities around the world would agree.

So, we may or may not have yet reached Gladwell’s increasingly proverbial “tipping point” with video in the courtroom but smart courts. Smart courts, however, will not want to wait to find out whether they are ahead of the curve or behind it. Call jAVS or your favored vendor today to learn more about what it will take for your court to GO VIDEO!

(If you liked this article then please visit the jAVS Facebook page and “like” us there and/or Follow Us on Twitter.)

San Francisco Superior Courts Go jAVS Showing California The Way

San Francisco Superior Court

VCR salutes the innovative public servants responsible for making the decision to go digital in San Francisco’s Superior Courts! Now, San Francisco litigants involved in matters before the Superior Court will have instant access to a verbatim digital audio record of every proceeding. More importantly, San Francisco’s tax payers have invested in technology that will pay for itself over and over while increasing the transparency, accountability and accessibility of the courts. I know these decisions are difficult and that they require a good amount of professional courage. For this reason, I always know that any court that decides to implement digital court recording must have excellent leadership. Of course, I would have loved to have seen this court go all the way by implementing video court recording and I hope that maybe someday these courts will add cameras. Fortunately, because they chose to install a jAVS system for electronic court recording they can easily go video in the future.

There may not be a Heaven, but there is a San Francisco.” ~Ashleigh Brilliant

The courage of this court makes me think of the courage of those first judges in Kentucky who brought digital court recording to Kentucky’s courts over 25 years ago. There’s always a certain resistance to making big changes even when those changes have proven their value in courts around the world. Some resistance is well-meaning based on biased information and other resistance comes from those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Still, a better idea has an inherent power that’s difficult to deny forever. Digital court recording has proven to be a better way and I know that the efforts of this court to move their justice system into the 21st century will pay off in the short term and certainly over the long haul.

In honor of the San Francisco Superior Courts, I’m sharing a video clip of the Daniel Boone of digital court recording in Kentucky, Judge Jim Chenault, discussing how he brought electronic court reporting to Kentucky’s courts in the early 1980′s:

Ask California Why Kentucky Can Do It & They Can’t?

Yet another editorial was published recently in the Sacramento Bee, the newspaper of record in California’s capital city, about the need for California to finally end the court reporters monopoly and move into to the digital age. Going to digital court recording, as the editorial indicates, will save California’s taxpayers HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS every year. You’ll notice all types of comments to the editorial and some of them might seem to make sense unless you know that Kentucky did exactly what the editorial is suggesting and they did so OVER TWENTY YEARS AGO!

(Kentucky goes video everyday in 410 courtrooms across the state using technology from jAVS. Visit www.javs.com or email solutions@javs.com for details.)

However, I’d like to up the anty and take things a step further than these editorials by suggesting that the Kentucky model of using VIDEO as the OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE COURT is the ONLY way to go for any court, including California’s courts. For the life of me, I don’t know why court systems with challenged budgets want to be in the court transcripts business? A court transcript can easily be produced from the video record by a private company for the attorney or for any person involved in a particular case. Provisions can easily be made for those without means to pay. Those currently employed as official court reporters will quickly turn their attention to providing transcription services and there are any number of online transcription companies ready to do the work for a fraction of what it costs courts to provide transcripts for every single case whether anyone actually wants one or not.

If you live in California, tell your legislator to GO VIDEO and to get out of the transcription business! After all, it’s YOUR money.

Here’s the link to the editorial: http://bit.ly/iga4Dh

Digital Video Court Recording Pioneeers: The Bluegrass Has Never Looked So Green

When you think of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, you think of the finest bourbons, the fastest horses and Colonel Sanders’s fried chicken. It’s time to add video court pioneer to the list!

In the Connecticut Law Tribune’s remarkable interview with Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton about Kentucky’s pioneering move to video, the article emphasizes that “Kentucky went to video 20 years ago with no regrets.”

You can read the article and interview here:

http://www.ctlawtribune.com/getarticle.aspx?ID=36930

Of course, just as there are no perfect human beings, there are also no perfect digital recording systems. Court reporters love to point folks to articles describing instances in which digital court recording systems have failed and caused difficulties for the court. They never point out, however, that the instances of court reporters making mistakes, not showing up for court, interrupting court, or any number of other human factors far outnumber instances of digital recording failures. Still, even with the potential for isolated mechanical failures and break-downs in human processes, there are remarkably few problems in comparison when courts correctly operate their digital court recording systems and maintain an active service contract with a proven vendor.

The important truth here is that when prudent procedures are followed and a fully-redundant recording solution is in place, the performance of digital court recording versus the track record of live court reporters is not even close; digital court recording wins hands-down on both accuracy and reliability. Superior accuracy and reliability, however, are only the beginning. The serious discussion starts when we examine the comparative costs of digital court recording versus live court reporters.

The reason that courts will continue to rapidly replace live court reporters with digital court recording systems is the massive cost-savings involved. In fact, Kentucky’s move to video as the official record of the court in 1985 might be the single best financial decision Kentucky’s courts have ever made. It is estimated that Kentucky saves their hardworking tax payers over $24 MILLION annually versus what it would cost them to use live court reporters in those same 410 courts where jAVS systems have been automatically creating the official record of the court for DECADES with hardly an incident.

We made it clear in the early stages that if we were going to go video, we’d go video. We committed to that, and that becomes the official record. When I was a trial judge, I discouraged [written transcripts] because we were committed to the video record. ~Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton

Consider for a moment the history of the jAVS digital court recording systems deployed throughout Kentucky’s courts:

  • 410 courtrooms
  • 4 to 6 hours of video recorded per day
  • 220 days per year on average
  • 500,000 hours of video annually
  • $24 MILLION estimated annual savings to taxpayers

Over the next 10 years, using the known savings estimates above, the total additional estimated savings in Kentucky from using video recording instead of hiring live court reporters comes to more than $200 MILLION. Kentucky’s current Administrative Office of the Court estimates that their digital court recording systems cost the state an average of $20 per day. That’s not a typo, that’s TWENTY dollars per DAY — less than the hourly cost for a single live court reporter. It’s important to point out that Kentucky’s costs are so low because they’ve been able to stretch the useful life of their digital court recording systems much further than most. Although keeping older systems active beyond their intended life-cycle isn’t always prudent, savvy court administrators understand that investing in the highest quality equipment from a vendor capable of fully supporting their solution will pay enormous dividends over time.

The fact that a piece of equipment can sometimes fail and cause an isolated issue that is easily resolved should not distract court administrators from from the big picture benefit of video court recording. As you can plainly see, despite any specious claims to the contrary from various entrenched political interests, moving to video recording saves courts millions while simultaneously improving the accuracy, reliability and flexibility of the record. Although some courts have chosen to go half-way by using an audio-only recording system, the experience of our video courts prove that video is an essential enhancement to the audio recording. Don’t take our word for it! Just ask any experienced transcriptionist if they prefer to transcribe from an audio-only recording or from a video-enhanced recording. With studies showing that a majority of human communication is non-verbal, you can bet that most court professionals will want video with their audio whenever they can get it!

So, why don’t all courts follow Kentucky’s now proven experience of using a video file as the official record of the court?

Great question! Politics, as you would expect, plays a role in the answer. Nationally, court reporters have enjoyed a long and entrenched relationship with the courts. In these days of shockingly massive state budget deficits, it is equally shocking to learn that states like California have made it illegal to use digital court recording systems and require that all state courts utilize live court reporters to create the official record. In other states, you’ll find a mixed bag of entrenched interests and deliberate misinformation about the economics of the court record conspiring to protect the special relationship that court reporters enjoy with the courts they serve. Such self-protective behavior is understandable, even necessary for their survival, considering that the first state to go to video as the official record of the court no longer employs a single court reporter on the state payroll.

Kentucky’s experience outlined above makes clear that live court reporters have become a dispensable luxury. Experienced and talented professionals with excellent court reporting skills will always have a valuable role in the justice system, but the logical best use for those skills are in transcribing digital court recordings for attorneys and other court participants when needed. There are dozens of reasons that a judge, attorney, defendant or other person involved in a court case may request a written transcript. The most accurate transcript of a court proceeding is one produced by an experienced court transcriptionist using the video court recording as their source material. Best of all, a digital written transcript can be produced remotely from anywhere in the world for much less cost than a live court reporter. Today, company’s like Pheonix, Arizona (USA) based AVTranz can provide court professionals with the ability to upload a digital court recording to a secure website and receive a professionally transcribed court transcript in return for a fraction of the cost of receiving the exact same end-product from a live court reporter.

Video presents other practical advantages including a benefit that is often overlooked due to being so obvious: if you start with video, you can still produce an audio-only record and a verbatim transcript. If you start with anything else, you can never go back and create the video! Some courts are now using their video court recording systems as part of their security apparatus by taking an IP video feed from the in-court cameras back to their security monitoring stations. This is easily accomplished without any impact to the record. When video is used for security, video court recording becomes a “two birds with one stone” solution for increasingly security-minded courts.

Today, the flow of misinformation about the performance of digital court recording systems has reached an all-time high as severely challenged budgets are causing states to rethink the demonstrably unnecessary expense of employing costly live court reporters. Any court looking for a straight-forward way to improve their court operations while creating massive savings should do their own research and come to their own conclusions. States willing to consider going completely to video recording can look to Kentucky’s enormous savings during more than 20 years of successfully using video as the official record of the court.

For any court administrator looking to improve the operations of the court while significantly reducing costs, the “bluegrass state” has never looked so green!

(Kurt Maddox is the Chief Evangelist for jAVS, a leading digital court recording company. Kurt frequently writes articles related to digital court recording along with being a global advocate for all courts going to video as the official record of the court.)

Ideas For Challenged Court Budgets: Video Court Recording & Remote Transcription Services

Yes, court reporters and stenographers are exceedingly wonderful people. Yes, as with all well-trained dedicated professionals, a great court reporter can be invaluable to the court served by them. And, yes, the economics of using court reporters to create the official record of the court should convince anyone rationally thinking through the question that there must be a better way. Fortunately, there’s a better option called video court recording or digital court recording that still leaves an important role for those with valuable court reporting skills: the role of the “court transcriptionist”.

Here’s an excellent article by a leading national court transcription service that lays out the economics of court reporting versus digital court recording in detail:

http://www.avtranz.com/blog/?p=385

Video court recording and digital court recording companies like industry leader jAVS, Inc. are continuously bringing innovations to the market that vastly improve the economies and the quality of the court record. The new jAVS System 7 allows courts to use services such as AVTranz for near real-time transcripts created remotely from the video court record. The combination of jAVS System 7 and AVTranz remote transcription services give courts unparalleled options with unmatched accuracy and quality.

To learn more, contact a jAVS Client Solutions Specialist today by emailing Solutions@jAVS.com or by calling 1-800-354-jAVS!

Follow Veritas, @theamicuscuriae, on Twitter

Screenshot of Veritas Twitter Page

Another Friend of VCR

There are a number of Facebook page and Twitter feeds you might want to check out if your doing research on digital audio and video court recording compared to live court reporters and stenographers. One of VCR’s current faves is the Tweeter “Veritas” who goes by the username @theamicuscurieae on Twitter.

The tag line for this education Twitter feed is:

“The Truth about Digital Audio/Video Recording and Stenographic Reporting in the United States Court System.”

Overall, this feed shares links and helpful info worth checking out if you’re court is considering moving toward digital court recording and away from traditional live court reporters. As always, VCR loves transcriptionists and court reporters / stenographers, but those skills are better used in support of a robust digital video court recording system in VCR’s opinion.

PS ~ Did you know that Kentucky’s entire court system uses video files recorded by a digital court recording system as the Official Record of the Court — even at the appellate all the way up to the Supreme Court? It is estimated that this saves the Commonwealth of Kentucky over $24 MILLION annually versus the court reporters that were replaced in Kentucky years ago.

Sacramento Bee Laments California’s Expensive Court Reporter Monopoly

In California, court reporters have long held a politically enforced monopoly despite estimates that going to digital court recording could save that budget-challenged state more than $100M annually. It looks like that could be about to change as state’s look under every rock for ways to improve services and save money. We love court reporters and transcriptionists, but we also love saving courts millions!

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/04/26/v-print/3578073/court-reporters-monopoly-must.html

To learn more about jAVS video digital court recording solutions, visit www.javs.com.

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