Bekah Turner 2014-01-16 06:55:04
Are You Prepared For Trials In The 21st Century? Bekah Turner is a stenographer and the owner of Kentuckian Court Reporters. In addition to being a real-time court reporter, she is also a Certified Deposition Video Specialist. For more information about choosing the right court reporter and videographer for your clients, please contact her at 502-589-2273, email bturner@kentuckianareporters. com or visit online at www. kentuckianareporters.com. All of the Jefferson County Circuit Courtrooms will soon be equipped with digital multi-input, triple-screen output audio/video systems. It is only a matter of time before systems like these are common across all courtrooms in Kentucky. The new digital systems feature dual-projection screens with high definition projectors and a 55-inch LCD monitor which allows trial counsel to display three different images simultaneously. Having invested nearly One Million Dollars in the new technology, the Circuit Court is clearly committed to making cutting-edge trial presentation technology a permanent part of the courtroom. Some attorneys have expressed concern about being able to operate the audio/visual systems in the new courtrooms. However, the system is designed for ease of use and can be operated from a simple iPad. In addition, the Louisville Bar Association is providing training for the new system so that every attorney will be able to easily operate the equipment. The real concern for attorneys should not be whether or not they can operate the courtrooms’ presentation technology. Instead, every attorney’s focus should be on how they are going to use the technology to better their case. Presentation Equipment Without Video Is Like An Xbox Without Games Assuming you have mastered all of the new courtroom presentation equipment, the only question remaining is: what are you going to do with it? You must be able to show the jury something on those brand-new high definition projection screens. No kid wants an Xbox that does not come with games. Likewise, a jury does not want to see a blank screen or simple blow-ups of a deposition transcript. The whole point of the new presentation system is to be able to cue a jury through text, audio and visual means. Quite simply, you need to make sure that you have video of all pretrial testimony. Without video of your depositions those beautiful HD screens are just paperweights. Even worse, they can be distractions for the jury as they wonder why you are not using them. Aside from the fact that video testimony is simply more persuasive to jurors, your ability to incorporate video might say something about you as an advocate. Look, every attorney wants to make the best impression possible in front of a jury. Trial consultants can make a living by advising attorneys on what types of suits and shoes they should wear in front of particular demographics. I have even listened to attorneys discuss how a jury will react to their cufflinks! If the jury’s perception of how you part your hair matters then surely your ability to use technology matters. You do not want to be the attorney flipping through a dog-eared deposition transcript while opposing counsel seamlessly presents clips of your expert’s prior testimony during cross-examination. How you are able to use the tools presented to you will change the way jurors perceive you as an advocate. Video Testimony Is More Persuasive To The Judge Attorneys should not reserve that video depositions are only for use at trial. Video clips are just as valuable when arguing motions to judges. After all, it has been the judiciary leading the charge for courtroom upgrades. Clearly, the judges want to see more testimony. Playing snippets of video depositions during your motion practice will add considerable authority to the deposition testimony by providing context and showing the judge the witness’ body language. Verbal argument before a judge can turn into a boring monologue. Break up your argument by inserting video testimony rather than reading from the record. When the judge can see and hear the combativeness of a witness (or counsel), it may change his perspective. Video Depositions Can Be Affordable And Easy. Some attorneys have expressed concerns about the cost of adding video to all of their depositions. Frankly, this concern has arisen from court reporting agencies charging exorbitant rates that are not in line with the cost savings generated by modern video equipment. Our video rates, on the other hand, are $85 for the first hour and $65 for each additional hour. Those costs include editing (of objections, colloquy, etc) when your trial or hearing takes place. In other words, we work with you to identify any portion of the video which is not admissible (or unneeded) and create a seamless edited version that is trial ready. We also make sure that every DVD is clearly labeled as “Trial Ready” or “Unedited - - Not For Use At Trial”. This prevents the inadvertent use of unedited video and the mistrial that could come with such a mix-up. Finally, every video is saved on our secure servers in perpetuity. We always have a back-up ready for you. Depending on your needs, you may want to consider switching your depositions to video-only rather than carrying the extra cost of a court reporter. If you do go the video-only route, we can generate a transcript from the video at a later date as needed. If you need additional assistance in finding the approach that works best for you, just give us a call. Whatever you do, make sure you take full advantage of the new trial presentation equipment that is being adopted and find ways to incorporate it into your practice.
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