Brad White, president and CEO of Nomad Technologies Inc., talks to Kathleen Gross, deputy administrative director of the courts. Gross is a member of the committee that will choose a vendor for multimedia courtroom equipment.

Steve McCord, left, the regional sales director for Nomad Technologies Inc., speaking with Jimmy Thaxton, Kanawha
County court case manager. Thaxton is a member of the committee that will choose a vendor for multimedia courtroom equipment.

MARTINSBURG -- Multimedia technology could eventually be set up in courtrooms throughout the state, and a special committee's visit to Berkeley County is a step in that direction.

Circuit judges and leaders from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals sat through three presentations on April 30 in the Berkeley County Judicial Center, where vendors from throughout the country showed a variety of multimedia equipment that could be used in courts.

The vendors demonstrated how attorneys could incorporate a wide range of technology into court proceedings, from DVD clips and PowerPoint presentations to video conferencing and special projectors with increased zoom capabilities. The all-in-one systems could also offer technology that allows users to display documents, and "write" on the computer screen to circle information and then print everything out.

Some of the equipment options have touchscreen, wireless controls that could allow judges to override the main system and turn off the audio, video and projector if they needed to do so. The equipment systems were presented by representatives from Jefferson Audio Video Systems Inc. of Louisville, Ky.; Nomad Technologies Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn.; and BIS Digital of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury appointed the review committee last fall to get input from circuit court judges and see what they would like in their courts.

"We're not going to suddenly have (multimedia systems) in the hands of all 66 judges overnight," Canterbury said, noting that some circuit judges aren't interested in this type of equipment in courtrooms.

Canterbury said some areas of the state have judges and many attorneys interested in multimedia systems, while others probably would not use the equipment much at all, yet.

Judges at the new judicial center in Berkeley County will test the equipment, and other counties that are interested in the technology will have the opportunity to get new systems over the next months and years.

Canterbury said this will be a multi-year process that will eventually stretch throughout West Virginia.

"Ultimately, one day, all of the courts will have that technology," he said.

Canterbury said the committee is interested in finding a multimedia system that is very user-friendly, with equipment that is easy for people to run with little training. The committee will look carefully at the price and quality of the different options during the next few weeks before making a vendor recommendation.

The review committee consists of Berkeley Circuit Judge Christopher Wilkes; Supreme Court Clerk Rory Perry; Kathleen Gross, deputy
administrative director of the courts; Mike Proops, director of financial management of the courts; Fletch Adkins, director of support services in the Supreme Court Administrative Office; Tara Harper; associate director of computer support in the Administrative Office; and Jimmy Thaxton; Kanawha County court case manager.

Berkeley Circuit Judge David Sanders also attended the presentations, as well as other interested leaders from the area.

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