Agenda Item No. __________Washburn University Board of Regents
SUBJECT: Donor-based Renovation of the Washburn University School of Law Courtroom
Washburn University School of Law is planning to equip the Robinson Courtroom with state of the art technology necessary to provide students and faculty a learning environment that reflects the current trend in electronically enhanced trials. Upon the completion of upgrading Robinson Courtroom, Trial Advocacy classes will train students how to present evidence persuasively with modern computer technology and graphics. Modern video taping equipment will record student performances of mock trial exercises so they may be critiqued effectively by Trial Advocacy instructors. Adding courtroom technology training to the Legal Skills curriculum through small group hands-on instruction is the key to increased technology comfort and use. The courtroom will provide an instructional space that is similar to a modern, well equipped courtroom that is user friendly from an instructional stand point. An additional written digest of the project is attached as Appendix A.
FINANCIAL IMPL ICATIONS:
All funding for the renovation has been pledged and will be paid at the time of the award of the contract. The entire project cost is estimated at $270,000. Bids have been solicited for the project and will be presented to the Board in March for approval.
President Farley recommends approval of the project.
(date) Jerry B. Farley, President
Technology in the Courtroom
Below is a digested version of the Atechnology@ courtroom Request For Proposals (RFP) that was prepared during the past year.
The Law School Courtroom Technology Committee developed the RFP language, and vision. The committee consisted of Jim Concannon, Dean, School of Law, Joyce Martin, Director of Development, Prof. Peter Cotorceanu, Prof. John Francis, Prof. Michael Kaye, and Mark Folmsbee, Assoc. Dean, Computer Services.
Today, the influence of computers and online communications in the practice of law is common place. A 1998 survey by the American Bar Association found that 97 percent of large law firms and 98 percent of small firms provide full Internet access for their attorneys. Public viewing of trials and oral arguments live online or via satellite is available in some courtrooms. Technological advances help open the courthouse doors to the public, by providing greater access to the judicial system. Additionally, the legal system has been affected by technology with the availability of electronic filing and case management software.
A common characteristic of all high technology courtrooms is the ability to present evidence electronically. At least thirty-four federal district courts are equipped for two-way testimony. At least twenty-nine states use or authorize video conferencing. Video conferencing for oral arguments is currently used in the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Tenth and District of Columbia Circuits.
Washburn University desires to equip the courtroom with the state of the art technology necessary to provide the students and faculty with the learning environment that will reflect the current trend in electronically enhanced trials. Students need to be comfortable with and knowledgeable about courtroom technology. Upon completion, trial advocacy classes will train students how to present evidence persuasively with modern computer technology and graphics. Modern videotaping equipment will record student performances of mock trial exercises so they may be critiqued effectively by Trial Advocacy instructors. Adding courtroom technology training to the Legal Skills curriculum through small group hands-on instruction is the key to increased technology comfort and use. The courtroom will provide an instructional space that is similar to a modern, well equipped courtroom that is user friendly from an instructional stand point. This courtroom will be teacher/Judge controlled. It is to be designed so that support staff are not needed to operate the equipment.
Technology changes will include video teleconferencing, Internet access with capabilities of remote broadcast, evidence presentation, digital court reporting, and electronic legal research. A voice-activated video system that can accommodate remote testimony from any ISDN or Internet site in the world will be added. The video system will support broadcasting of trials via the Internet. A digital evidence presentation system is to be centrally stored and operated from a podium. This system will include a document camera, videocassette, illustrator tablet, light pen, visual image printer, laptop connection and touch screen controls with a computer and a computer white board.
Images will be capable of being displayed immediately, thus aiding jury comprehension. The project will be designed to allow installation of portable monitors in the event of jury trials. There also will be PC docking stations, a computerized blackboard (a so-called "John Madden" board), VCRs and a touch screen monitor (SmartBoard). Six individual workstations will be installed in the jury area for display purposes. When an image needs to be shown to the jury again or put in the appellate record, the system may be connected to a video printer and appropriate images printed as the image is changed.
General Room Configuration Specifications
The room will include the capability of conducting multipoint remote testimony by video conference and will be connected to a standard coax cable television scheme already in the building. All computers will be networked with either cable meeting tia/eia category 6 draft 5 specs or, with Cisco AirLan 11mb wireless technology. Proceedings will be capable of being recorded on audiotape, videotape, and digital media (CDROM). Text, graphics, computer display, multimedia animations, and video will be displayable to jurors. Raised microphones will be capable of both teleconferencing and recording. The project will include a built-in videoconferencing system.
The Podium will include the capability of rotating 360 degrees, accommodating a wheelchair beneath any side tables, connecting to and displaying a graphic-based trial notebook (laptop computer), controlling (preview, decide, and then display) all viewing and sound throughout the courtroom. Controlling will be accomplished with an integrated touch screen control system that links to a document and item camera, computer display, VCR, cable TV, a voice activated built-in videoconference/deposition system, a raised microphone sound system, a FM/AM radio, an audio cassette recorder, a point maker system, a DVD/compact disk player, a fax card, and printers.
The Bench area will include the capability to control (preview, decide, and then display) all viewing and sound throughout the courtroom, view documents with monitor, connect a laptop to the system for use (applications, access casefile) as a tool, see simulations and graphics on a monitor, see video on monitor, see computer display on monitor, see external depositions (video conference) on monitor, hear sound, be amplified and recorded, be video recorded, and print.
Jury Box Area
The Jury area will include the capability to view documents with monitor, see simulations and graphics on a monitor, see video on a monitor, see external depositions on a monitor, see computer display on monitor, hear amplified sound, be amplified and recorded, and be video recorded.
The Attorney area will include the capability to view documents with a monitor, present electronic (disk) documents with a monitor, connect a laptop to the system for use (applications, access casefiles) as a tool, present computer applications and casefiles, see computer display on a monitor, see simulations and graphics on a monitor, present simulations and graphics on monitor, see video on a monitor, play video on a display, see external depositions on a monitor, hear amplified sound, be amplified and recorded, be video recorded and print.