Electronic Courtrooms

Courtroom Technology
History of Electronic Courtrooms in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse - Philadelphia, PA
Edward N. Cahn U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building - Allentown, PA
Equipment List
Projects
Training and Additional Information
Ten FAQs Regarding Electronic Courtrooms
Electronic Courtroom Request Form

 

Courtroom Technology

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is committed to ensuring the effective and efficient administration of justice and to providing exceptional service to all litigants and practitioners who come before the Court. Electronic courtrooms are the latest technological innovation undertaken in support of our mission. All courtrooms are equipped with digital court recording. Click on the links (pictures) below to explore our three locations, which were brought on-line in four phases starting in 2002.

History of Electronic Courtrooms in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has long pioneered the emergence of electronic capabilities in case processing, fiscal management, judicial administration and in courtroom proceedings. Courtroom technologies in this district were introduced as early as June of 1995, expediting the litigation process, providing increased security and reducing costs associated with court appearances or presentations. In July of 1998, the Clerk of Court requested design and funding authorization from the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts in order to introduce integrated electronic courtrooms as part of a multi-phase prospectus level renovation project at the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia. The request was approved and, as a result, district judge courtrooms 17A, 17B, 15B, 10A, 3A and 3B, as well as magistrate judge courtrooms 3C, 3D and 3I, were outfitted with state-of-the-art technologies. In addition, expediting the litigation process, installation of the electronic capabilities during the courtroom retrofit resulted in substantial cost savings.

The first three electronic courtrooms were introduced in the fall of 2001. Additional courtrooms were brought online in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Currently, thirteen courtrooms have full electronic capabilities. Each includes technology designed to effectively manage and present evidence and testimony and support real-time court reporting. Components of the electronic courtrooms include Digital Evidence Presentation Systems (DEPS); Integrated Document Camera Systems; Integrated Video Conferencing Systems; VCRs and infrastructure enhancements that support multiple serial connections; and, flat panel monitors with annotation capabilities placed throughout the courtroom for the benefit of the judge and jury, counsel and litigants, Court staff and members of the public.

Since June 2003, Eastern District of Pennsylvania electronic courtrooms have been used 1,512 times. We expect a steady increase in the utilization of these resources as counsel become more familiar with system capabilities and begin to structure the presentation of evidence in a format easily accessible to the judges or juries using this technology. Hearings, trials, video depositions and video conferences have all been conducted in the electronic courtrooms. In one case, a trial was conducted using video conferencing technology with the presiding officer in Philadelphia and the parties participating from Istanbul, Turkey, 5,104 miles away. Video conferencing has also been used to conduct a trial with participants situated in Philadelphia and California, and the Court also has made an electronic courtroom available to the U.S. Attorneys Office to conduct a preliminary pretrial proceeding with participants situated in London.

Audio conferencing is another option that is being utilized more frequently. Audio conferencing was recently used during a sentencing hearing whereby the actual proceeding took place in Philadelphia and family members of the victims were able to listen to the proceedings live while remaining in their home country of Hungary.

James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse - Philadelphia, PA

James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse - Philadelphia, PA

Our electronic courtrooms provide technological enhancements that foster trial efficiency while preserving the dignity and the fairness of the proceedings. In the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, both District Judge Courtrooms and Magistrate Judge Courtrooms have electronic capabilities.

 

District Judge Courtrooms - James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse

District Judge Courtroom - James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse

There are multiple District Judge Courtrooms in the James A. Byrne Courthouse. All electronically capable courtrooms in the Byrne Courthouse (3A, 3B, 4A, 4B, 7B, 8B, 9A, 9B, 10A, 10B, 12A, 13A, 15B, 16A, 16B, 17A and 17B) have:

Courtrooms 3A, 3B, 7B, 8B, 9A, 9B, 10A, 10B, 12A, 13A, 15B, 16A, 16B, 17A and 17B also have:

  • Video Monitors in the cell block for prisoners to view courtroom proceedings in certain circumstances

Courtrooms 3A, 3B, 7B, 9A, 9B, 10A, 10B, 12A, 15B, 16A, 16B, 17A and 17B also have:

Courtroom 12A is fully handicapped accessible.

Click on this link for a list of equipment information.

 

Magistrate Judge Courtrooms - James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse

Magistrate Judge Courtroom - James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse

Three Magistrate Judge Courtrooms (3C, 3D and 3I) are equipped with visual and audio presentation systems. Each courtroom is equipped with the following:

Click on this link for a list of equipment information.

Edward N. Cahn U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building - Allentown, PA

Edward N. Cahn U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building - Allentown, PA

There is one electronic courtroom in the Cahn Courthouse. This courtroom, Courtroom B, offers an updated sound system and full evidence presentation equipment.

 

Courtroom B - Edward N. Cahn U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building

Courtroom B - Edward N. Cahn U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building

Courtroom B has visual and audio presentation systems which include:

Click on this link for a list of equipment information.

Equipment List

Several courtrooms at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania provide a wide array of technical components that support evidence presentation, remote site interactions, language interpreting and audio enhancement. The state-of-the-art technologies include:

Upgraded Sound System

The upgraded sound system will reinforce sound clarity in the courtroom. Balanced acoustics will be achieved by using a systemized pattern for the placement of the speakers throughout the courtroom.

 

  • Assisted Listening System

  • Assisted Listening System

    Wireless headphones will amplify proceedings for the hearing impaired.

     

    Language Interpreting System

    Wireless headphones will support the delivery of simultaneous interpretation of court proceedings to multiple litigants or jurors.

Multiple Language Interpreting System

Wireless headphones will support the delivery of simultaneous interpretation of court proceedings in up to two languages (Courtrooms 3A and 3B).

 

Infrared Emitter

The infrared emitter transmits audio to wireless headphones on multiple channels for the purpose of amplifying proceedings for the hearing impaired and accommodating the interpretation of a single language.

 

  • Video Conferencing System

  • Video Conferencing System

    The video conferencing system complies with industry standards and is compatible with compliant systems anywhere. Use of video conferencing has provided a viable option to travel and resulted in increased convenience and cost savings for litigants.

Teleconferencing

Courtrooms are outfitted with teleconferencing equipment with ridge service, capable of supporting up to 32 remote dial-in sites.

 

  • Document/Video Presentation Station

    Through touch screen technology and an interface with counsel supplied laptops, exhibits from disk or hard drive may be displayed from counsel table or evidence presentation station to unobtrusive flat panel monitors positioned throughout the jury box and the courtroom.

  • Document/Video Presentation Station

 

  • Evidence Presentation Station

  • Evidence Presentation Station

    The evidence presentation station located near the lectern contains the technologies that will be utilized by counsel during a court presentation such as touch screen annotation, videotape or DVD player, document camera, and VGA and audio connections for laptops.

 

  • Touch Screen Annotation

    There is a touch screen annotation near the lectern and witness stand that is part of the video presentation system, which allows counsel and witnesses to make annotations on exhibits or videos being displayed on the document/video presentation system. Attention can be drawn to details displayed on the flat monitors throughout the courtroom, as often seen in sports broadcasting. Annotation may also be used as an electronic white board.

  • Touch Screen Annotation

 

  • Document Camera

  • Document Camera

    The document camera will transmit the image of paper documents, x-rays, negatives, transparencies and 3-D objects to the monitors throughout the courtroom. Zoom features are included.

     

    Videotape Recorder (VCR)

    Videotape recorders and DVD players will support the presentation of video depositions or evidence to each monitor in the courtroom.

 

  • Videotaping

    In 1991, courtroom 11B began a two year pilot program that had 9 voice-activated video cameras mounted throughout the courtroom which videotaped court proceedings. Videos were available for review by Court staff, counsel and the general public. This technology also allows for viewing the proceedings via a monitor in the prisoner holding cell.

  • Videotaping

 

Digital Audio Recording System

The official court record will be digitally recorded on four audio channels which are reserved for designated speakers. This allows the review of each channel separately for precise transcription of the testimony. In addition, electronic log notes support the easy retrieval of any portion of the court proceedings instantly, eliminating the time-consuming need for searching through audio tapes. This system has been installed in all of the courtrooms.

 

Cabling Infrastructure for Real-Time Court Reporting

Cabling is included that will support the use of real-time court reporting.

 

  • Computer Connection Access

  • Computer Connection Access

    A connection to the evidence presentation system is available to counsel for those who use laptop computers at the evidence presentation station and the counsel tables.

Projects

  • Renovations to Courtroom 11A, located in the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are scheduled to begin in April 2012.
  • Renovations to Courtroom 15A, located in the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, are scheduled to begin in the fall of 2012.
  • Renovations to Courtroom 12B, located in the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will be completed in mid-May 2012.
  • Renovations to Courtroom 4, located in the Madison Building in Reading, Pennsylvania, will begin in late April 2012.

Training and Additional Information

The Court welcomes the bar to make use of these technologies and training is available at the James A. Byrne Courthouse in Philadelphia, PA. To complete an Electronic Courtroom Request Form, please click here or here. For more information regarding the electronic courtrooms & training, please see the FAQs and/or the Ten FAQs Regarding Electronic Courtrooms.

Ten FAQs Regarding Electronic Courtrooms

Electronic Courtroom Request Form

Please see the Electronic Courtroom Request Form.