Medina Judge Puts Court Hearings and great services on the WWW

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 12/27/2004 - 18:30.

This just came through the RSS feed from Channel 5 - and is covered more thoroughly on the Medina Gazette site - Medina Judge Kimbler is using the Internet in unique ways, in his courtroom - allowing attorneys and the public to sign up and "Join Judge Kimbler's Court and receive e-mail updates on jury trials, decisions,
sentencings, and much more" - on the site you can see jury instructions, court documents, verdicts, and now it seems view edited, taped recordings of sentencings - really fascinating effort by a clearly tech-savvy and progressive judge.

From Medina Gazette:

Judge Kimbler is
taping proceedings

<>By DENISE SULLIVAN - Staff Writer

MEDINA — Proceedings that occur in Common Pleas
Judge James L. Kimbler's courtroom are now available for public viewing
on computer screens worldwide.

 

Kimbler is providing recordings from inside his courtroom to anyone who logs onto the common pleas Web site, http://www.medinacommonpleas.com/

 

"People have a natural curiosity about what goes on
in court," Kimbler said. "This is a way to let the public keep track of
what's going on in the courthouse. Because people have jobs or are
taking care of their kids, not many people are able to be
court-watchers anymore."

 

Kimbler has been keeping the public informed for
several years through online journals and e-mail newsletters. The
newsletters kept

 

attorneys up to date on changes in procedures and
Supreme Court rulings while the public learned about sentencings and
trial verdicts, he related.

 

In 1999, Kimbler, along with Common Pleas Judge
Christopher J. Collier, struck a deal with Medina Cable Community
Access Tele-vision, which started filming once a month inside each of
the courtrooms.

 

Kimbler has attempted to do a webcast in the past,
and used his daughter as a "newscaster," narrating summaries of court
proceedings.

 

"That got to be too much to keep up with," he said. "Plus my daughter was not always available."

 

New technology has al-lowed Kimbler to come up with
the Web videos, he said. A tape from a single camera inside his
courtroom is sent to a friend in Dayton, who converts the footage to a
computer-friendly digital format, which is then posted on the Web.

 

"I'd like the turnaround time to be within a week,"
Kimbler said. "So if we tape something Friday, it should be up by the
following Wed-nesday."

 

Each video is kept on the Web about two weeks, then the oldest postings are replaced with the newest.

 

Besides keeping the public informed, Kimbler said the site is a great learning tool, especially for law students.

 

"They can see how the things they're learning are
actually applied," he said. "Some of them have never actually been
inside a courtroom before."

 

So far, public interest in the Web site has been strong, drawing between 10,000 and 12,000 visitors a month, Kimbler said.

 

"America prides itself on being a nation of laws,"
he said. "This idea is only as strong as the knowledge and confidence
people have in their legal system."

 
Sullivan may be reached at 330-721-4046 or dsullivan [at] ohio [dot] net.