AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Court rooms in Richmond and Burke Counties are getting a high-tech makeovers, thanks to a state grant. Each court room is being outfitted with a new system that will make proceedings faster, easier and safer.
Times are changing and this tech system is helping with that. Part of that includes how evidence is presented. Not only does it save time and money, but it increases safety as well.
“Moving prisoners is the most dangerous thing that law enforcement ever does,” explained Chief Judge Danny Craig of the Superior Court, Augusta Judicial Circuit.
Soon moving those prisoners will happen less often within the Augusta Judicial Circuit. A new technology system is being installed in the courtrooms throughout Richmond and Burke Counties.
“And so we have partnered with the sheriff’s office in order to do bonds and arraignments and even sentences over Webex, without having to transport prisoners, or those accused to the courtroom,” said Nolan Martin, Court Administrator.
Martin showed us some of what’s being done. Crews are rewiring the courtrooms and installing monitors, cameras and other devices.
It lets attorneys present digital evidence like files, maps and pictures, to the court where everyone can see it on the large monitor. There will be projectors to display physical evidence on the monitors and a digital whiteboard too.
“Those screens that can be annotated where witnesses can indicate where they were standing, where they had a view from,” said Martin.
Judge Craig’s courtroom is one of the first to have the new tech system installed. He told NewsChannel 6 that he’s already seen how it’s also saving lots of time.
“We ran vans constantly between the jail, which is about 8 miles from here, to the courthouse. And it just would not be possible now with the number of inmates that we have, and the number of more troubled inmates that we’re trying to deal with. The technology allows us to have ready access to every single inmate in the jail, all of the time.”
The $1-million state funded project is proving to be a huge success, and something Martin believes is the future of courtrooms everywhere.
“More and more court rooms are being either initially built with that technology or they’re moving to that technology,” he said.
So far, 6 rooms have been completed and are in use, with 16 left to renovate. Martin told us that it’s a slow process and expects all of them to be complete by this time next year.