Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pimp My Ride

I loved that show on MTV where they took jalopies (do they still use that term) and made them fabulous personalized autos that were absurd I am sure to maintain but still fun in concept.

Now today apparently they are doing that to financially strapped Courtrooms to please the Lawyers and Judges who use them!

In the pimp for Lawyers site, Above the Law I read the below "article." For the record it is not some informative piece to shock, abhor or inform you. It is a blogvertisement. I do them and they are articles created with an intent to inform but also sell you the service or product highlighted. The new growth area in media content is this and the Atlantic has done this, the Washington Post links to these articles and in fact many companies, such as Verizon are forming online sites that masquerade as online zines but in fact are agenda oriented. David Carr in the New York Times discusses this trend in "journalism" in his column yesterday.
So when I read this and got to the bottom paragraph, which I edited out because I can, I laughed, I love a badly written sales pitch.

In municipalities that are largely funded on the backs of the poor through varying fines and fees and a system that rarely actually has trials, I am unclear why all this dog and pony show is needed. Do they have it at the Supreme Court yet?

It is like the ubiquitous "expert" which we have come to know as the gun for hire that Lawyers love to hire and use in situations where actual argument, informative debate and in turn keeping the field to a level playing one, is something that today's modern Attorney is unlikely to do. When you can hire someone to do it for you, bill the client, and in turn impress your colleagues and courtroom audience with the skill set of ostensibly opening a and a checkbook, why bother with all that scholastic effort of research and study. Take that Clarence Darrow! If only he had a projector with a 30 inch high def screen!

Besides do you need this for plea bargaining. We already know that less than 10% of all cases be it civil or criminal make it to trial. Or are the Lawyers going to trial just that bad or are they the video gaming generation all growed up and need their toys advanced?

This is just another level of junk science added to an overburdened system. He who puts on the best show wins!

File this under HEE larious as in Hee Haw, another entertaining show. Just keeping it realz in America.

Where The Broke Courts Are Spending Their Money By Jeff Bennion

If someone on a fixed income spends a lot of money on something, you would probably conclude that whatever they are buying is important to them. For example, if someone makes $40,000 a year and they buy an $80,000 car, you can guess that that having an expensive car is important to that person. The courts are broke. They are laying people off, closing court rooms, and the forecast does not look good. So, if the courts around the country are splurging on something, there’s got to be a reason. If they are choosing to buy something expensive over, say, having people to answer phones, or research clerks, or coffee for jurors, you would probably have to conclude that whatever they are buying is important to them.

The broke courts are spending a lot of money on courtroom presentation software. The reason is that even the broke court system realizes that justice is so hindered by attorneys who try to rely on just their storytelling ability alone, that the court must provide equipment for attorneys to use visual aids in trial. Most attorneys who are going to trial can bring their own equipment, but the system realizes that it is so important that they use audiovisual aids, that personnel positions must be sacrificed in order to ensure that attorneys use technology in trial.

Why Are They Doing This?

Here is what the federal court system found back in 1998: **Editors note: The peak years of the drug wars***
For example, of those judges responding, 87 percent thought that video evidence presentation technologies helped them to understand the witness better, 81 percent thought it helped them understand testimony better, 72 percent thought it improved their abilities to question witnesses, and 83 percent found the technologies helped them to manage the proceeding. These improvements seem to be due primarily to their being able to view exhibits and contested materials at the same time as everyone else.

More than 90 percent of the jurors who responded indicated that they were able to see evidence clearly and follow the attorneys’ presentations. A similar percentage believed that the technologies made it easier for attorneys to present some evidence. As a result, most jurors believed that they were able to remain more focused on testimony and evidence, although a substantial minority would have preferred to handle the evidence in some instances.

This manual, Effective Use of Courtroom Technology: A Judge’s Guide to Pretrial and Trial, put out by the Federal Judicial Center, contains the following:

Opening statements: previewing displays to be used in opening can prevent time-consuming interruptions and objections when trial starts.
The problem is that most attorneys are as good at storytelling as they are at writing. That is to say, in their mind, they are really good, but in reality, not so good. The other problem is that the jury system is set up so that the most convincing side wins, not the most correct side. That often means the side that can present the most memorable case, or the case that is the easiest to understand. It’s not exactly fair, but it is the system that we have and it can be fair if you learn how to take advantage of it.

So Who Is Investing in Courtroom Technology?

Here is an article about the updates made this year in West Virginia:

The new equipment allows everyone in the courtroom to see evidence on these monitors. A monitor is mounted on each attorney’s table, the judges bench, and the witness stand. This huge 60-inch monitor makes it easy for the jury to see all of the evidence provided in a case. There are currently 30 counties across the state who are able to use the equipment, with another 25 counties left on the installation list.

“Juries expect in this day and time to have things on monitors, on televisions. They really expect it and that’s what we’re able to bring to them in our county now, which is fantastic,” said West Virginia Second Judicial Circuit Judge, David Hummel Jr.
In Nebraska, where literally the most important thing that happens is the growing of corn, the state government decided that they will spend money they don’t have on the technology:

Custer County will be spending $2.3 million on a new 17,000 square foot judicial building, but where the money comes from is still up in the air.

But whatever the Custer County supervisors decide, the state government agreed that the money must be spent.

California has a Court Technology Advisory Committee and they just approved a 283-page plan to update the technology in the judicial system:

The courts need an updated technology plan in order to better serve the public and our users by keeping the electronic courthouse doors open,” said Judge James E. Herman, advisory member of the Judicial Council and chair of its Technology Committee. “The Chief Justice has made it clear that remote access through technology is a vital part of her 3D access to justice program. These planning documents are a grassroots effort involving 19 trial courts and 3 appellate courts, supported by the Judicial Council’s Information Technology staff. The effort has also benefitted from input provided by presiding judges, branch stakeholders, and the public.

The list goes on. Several court systems are adopting technology in the courtroom and many have had it for years. ** and it probably sits unused, underutilized or badly used as how many really know how to operate it. What a joke

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