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May 13, 2006

Which state supreme court is the most tech-savvy?

Would you believe that the answer to this question may be our own Louisiana Supreme Court? That's the idea I get from an article by Roger A. Hanson in the Fall 2005 issue of The Journal of Appellate Practice & Process, titled American State Appellate Court Technology Diffusion. Consider these facts gleaned from Hanson's article, which you'll want to be aware of when you give your next oral argument at the LSC:

1. "The Louisiana Supreme Court currently broadcasts oral argument proceedings on a closed intranet basis to legal staff, but plans to provide proceedings via the Web later this year." (Note that this was written before Katrina, which may have affected the timetable.)

2. During oral arguments, the justices have Tablet PCs in front of them, "permitting them to have e-mail, note-taking, and instant messaging abilities using a stylus and digital ink platforms, which replicates traditional pen-and-paper note-taking. As a result, the justices communicate in real-time fashion with their respective staffs during oral argument, thereby having access to legal research tools and input from staff members pertinent to questions the justices pose .... This arrangement ... is part of a video-streaming system providing a live feed to all court staff during oral argument. Hence, the communication between the justices and staff occurs in a context in which staff are able to view and hear the proceedings." Eventually, this video-streaming will be Web-cast.

3. "Additionally, the live stream is digitally captured and archived on a server, enabling justices and staff to review oral argument and to listen to an audio version at their convenience."

4. "Finally, the courtroom itself will undergo a transformation with the introduction of a digital podium and a dislay screen, allowing for the presentation of digital exhibits during oral argument. The public will see the exhibits on the screen while the justices view them on their Tablet PCs."

Posted by RPW at May 13, 2006 01:56 PM
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