In my last article, I discussed the advantages of video-conference hearing rooms. Today, I will present an overview of the basic components that should be included in an ideal video-conference hearing room.
To better put this discussion in context, I should note that the mix of hearing room components that are depicted in the following example layout and the summary list is intended to support a hearing room that can be flexible in its use for any of these three scenarios:
- The physical presence of both the judge and the defendant
- The physical presence of only the defendant with the judge located in a separate facility
- The physical presence of only the judge with the defendant located in a separate facility
Video-conference Room Layout
The following graphic depicts one possible layout for this type of multi-purpose hearing room.
Flexible-use, Video-conference Hearing Room
The furniture and technology components and room characteristics depicted in this example hearing room layout include:
- A judge’s bench raised one step above the hearing room floor
- A podium in the center of the room for the defendant and counsel
- A court reporter’s desk at the side of the hearing room
- Seating at the rear of the room for spectators and law enforcement personnel
- Diffused lighting from above to light both the judge’s bench and the podium
- A camera and monitor system located between the bench and the podium that can rotate based on who is being presented via video
- Flush-mounted floor boxes containing audio, power, data, and phone at the camera/monitor and podium locations
- Under-counter audio, power, data, and phone at the judge’s bench
- Under-counter power, data, and phone at the court reporter’s bench
- An A/V rack in an adjacent closet or under the judge’s bench
- A ceiling height of approximately 10’
- A size allocation of approximately 400 square feet for the hearing room
Although this example hearing room offers the optimal level of flexibility of use, an individual court might select a different hearing room configuration specifically tailored to its own intended use of the facility. The guiding principle should include flexibility in applying technology and space configuration in all cases.
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