The Model Courtroom

During the 2013-14 winter break, the NJC’s signature space underwent a significant technology makeover and can once again live up to its name: the Model Courtroom.

Judges taking courses at the NJC tour the facility and learn firsthand how enhanced audiovisual equipment and computer software technology impacts today’s courtroom. And with the inclusion of Internet accessibility, the Model Courtroom is now an active learning center capable of streaming instructional content to judges throughout Nevada, the U.S. and the world.

Attorneys in the Model Courtroom can plug in their laptops to refer to notes, retrieve documents, charts, and photographs, and forward evidentiary material digitally to the presiding judge’s monitor. Once the judge approves the content, the court clerk then disseminates the evidence to the LCD displays where court participants are sitting: the jury box (and the jury room), the presentation lecturn, the witness stand and the four 60” LCDs situated in the gallery. In addition, video/audio feeds may also be relayed to the media room for reporters covering the trial, the attorney conference room (where the victim may choose to view the trial away from the defendant), and a remote-site interpreter who has been employed for non-English speaking witnesses. During the course of a trial, attorneys and witnesses may employ the LCD’s touch screen technology, which allows annotations to displayed evidence, much like a television sportscaster diagramming a football play during a broadcast.

The most visible manifestation of the upgrade is the proliferation of monitors, gooseneck microphones, and cameras strategically embedded throughout the room. All but invisible are the bundles of cables and the racks of equipment and software that allow judges and attorneys to harness digital technology to increase the speed and efficiency of court proceedings.

All but invisible are the bundles of cables and the racks of equipment and software that allow judges and attorneys to harness digital technology to increase the speed and efficiency of court proceedings.

NJC Model Courtroom

In March 2014, the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association became the first to use the upgraded Model Courtroom at the National Judicial College.

The six cameras placed around the courtroom provide a continuous feed of images allowing the proceedings to be viewed by audiences within the court and beyond. Camera switching can be done either manually or can be triggered through voice activation. Meanwhile, all of the proceedings can be captured via digital audio and video recording for later review.

As such, the new cameras, evidence presentation tools, monitors, and computer hardware and software allow the Model Courtroom to serve as a dynamic learning center. The College may:

  • Record or stream instructional sessions that can be viewed in real-time by registrants with a computer and Internet capability.
  • Produce mock trials to be streamed as well through online training platforms such as WebEx.
  • Develop a more robust hands-on curriculum for judges on the effective use of a courtroom with modern technology.
  • Provide an alternative site for other court jurisdictions needing a secure, technologically enhanced courtroom for special proceedings.

With direct access to current audio/visual technology, the College’s teaching and technology staff is better able to field questions from court personnel across the country seeking input about incorporating technology within their own courtrooms.

The Model Courtroom was created in partnership with ExhibitOne Corporation. The company has been providing audiovisual solutions for courtrooms since 1997 and has more than 2,200 system implementations throughout the country.