Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wireless in the Courtroom

Submitted by Hon. Kenneth L. Fields, Arizona Superior Court in Maricopa County

In mid 2004 the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County (Phoenix), decided to experiment with wireless service for the parties and counsel in four of its electronic courtrooms. The Court, working with County administration, installed the necessary equipment, developed the necessary protocols and initiated the service in early 2005.

At the present time it is offered as a free service for any attorney, party, witness or spectator on the 4th floor of the East Court Building. The comments from counsel are positive. The ability to have wireless support has lead to many new ideas for litigation support in the Courtroom. Examples are to have your expert available via instant messaging to support your cross examination while the opposing party is presenting its case or having the ability to locate missing documents at the last minute and forwarding them to you while the trial is on-going. Another recent use was to have a witness testifying telephonically coast to coast while the paralegals were sending him copies of exhibits as an e-mail attachment to be viewed during the examination. The costs saving were significant when one considered the alternative of video broadcasting or conferencing the testimony.

The use of wireless is just starting to catch on with the more adept attorneys and is expected to be a routine request in larger trials. For more information, contact Eric Ciminski at ciminskie@superiorcourt.maricopa.gov.

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