Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

High-Tech Age Arrives on Judge's Desk

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

High-Tech Age Arrives on Judge's Desk

Article excerpt

"Objection, your honor it's hearsay," says the defense attorney.

"Judge, it's a proper answer," the plaintiff's lawyer responds.

Pondering the objection, the judge wonders what exactly the witness said.

Rather than stop a trial in progress, hold a conference at the side bench, have a court reporter read back a series of questions and answers and then listen to more arguments, St. Louis County Circuit Judge John F. Kintz can now make an immediate ruling.

All he has to do is press a button on a computer on his desk in his courtroom. The prior series of questions and answers pops up on a screen before him.

Just like Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito dealing with objections from O.J. Simpson's lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. or prosecutor Marcia Clark, Kintz has the available technology to get instant recall.

Hidden from the view of the jury and spectators, a computer screen has been built into the left side of the top of Kintz's desk, and a keyboard pulls out into his lap.

A small printer has been set up on the right side of his desk. Beneath it is a radio receiver.

The state-of-the-art courtroom technology that has fascinated some viewers of the O.J. Simpson trial is gaining a foothold in St. Louis County, courtesy of joint financing by the state and the county. D

Kintz says he is the perfect guinea pig for high tech.

"If I can do it, anybody can," Kintz said in an interview last week. "When we got a Macintosh at home, my daughter had to teach me how to turn it on."

The legal experiment began with a state grant for court services for the hearing-impaired. Kintz volunteered to hear such cases.

Kintz's court reporter, Linda Tockman, was trained and then equipped with a computer assembly to her stenographic machine. The purpose is to provide instantaneous replay of questions and answers on a courtroom screen for deaf people. …

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