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The Third Branch

Waukesha County demonstrates new courtroom technology at budget presentation

By Kathleen Madden, Clerk of Court, Waukesha County Circuit Court

Waukesha County Courthouse
The Waukesha County Courthouse, where a nearly $1 million technology upgrade is facilitating videoconferencing and improving the presentation of legal materials in court.

A 15-month, $991,000 project to outfit all 12 courtrooms and five hearing rooms in the Waukesha County Courthouse with state-of-the-art technology is nearly complete – and a recent budget presentation provided a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the many functions of the new equipment.

The project aims to improve the presentation of legal materials in the courtroom and to meet the service demands of a technologically advanced group of legal professionals and justice partners with audio/visual, annotation, and presentation equipment. It also enables and improves remote video and telephone appearances by parties in all courtrooms and hearing rooms to enhance security and reduce transport costs and requirements for prisoners, patients, witnesses and other court participants. 

The county used the videoconferencing technology this summer to link District Three Chief Judge Randy R. Koschnick into a budget presentation that he could not attend in person due to his court calendar in Jefferson County. Koschnick interacted with Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, members of the County Board, Deputy Chief Judge Lloyd V. Carter and me, along with other Waukesha County staff.  I also made use of the opportunity to demonstrate many components of the new technology throughout my presentation by using a laptop at the presentation cart, annotating documents from various locations in the courtroom, demonstrating easy system controls from the clerk's workstation, and discussing the interpreter/assisted listening system, the document camera and more.

The meeting was an excellent example of how technology is changing courtrooms across the country and an excellent way to show the County Executive and County Board members the technology upgrades and enhancements that were funded through this capital project.

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