Centralized Audio Video Workroom

Many more courts are making use of audio and video recording to make the court record or to record proceedings where the record is not normally taken. A centralized audio video control systems permit a small staff of reporters to monitor several courtrooms from a central location.

The control room should be accessible from the private or restricted areas of the courthouse, but should have a public counter accessible from the public corridor where attorneys and the public may order transcripts or copies of the record.

This space may be near the data-processing or administrative offices for the ease of management and the availability of technical support. Adjacency to the courtrooms is not necessary, although staff should be able to communicate readily with the clerk or other officers in the courtroom.

The design and image of the court clerk's station should be compatible with the style and finishes of the judge's bench and other courtroom furniture.

It may be at floor level or elevated on one riser. A floor-level location is more accessible to the handicapped and further accentuates the prominence of the judge's bench, while an elevated location eases the transfer of documents to the judge and presents a better view of the courtroom; these factors should be carefully weighed during the design process.

The court clerk should have a clear view of all courtroom participants, as the clerk takes notes during the proceedings and must be able to see and hear all participants clearly. The court clerk should not obstruct the judge's view of the witness.

Depending on the individual audio/video system adopted, the recording functions will require a particular operating environment, specified by the vendor, that will maintain an optimal room temperature, relative humidity and contain certain cable connections and a regulated power supply.

Storage cabinets, work tables, and operator consoles should be provided. The room should be equipped with a public reception and information counter.

The central recording facility should be accessible to persons with disabilities.

Only authorized court staff should be able to enter the central audio/video room. The entrance should be locked. Fire extinguishers or a fire suppression system should be provided.

Space should conform to the specifications of the selected equipment. A public counter where attorneys may come to order transcripts and copies of the audio or videotapes is needed.

Provision for an adequate power supply, back-up power, switch panel, and cabling are needed. A raised floor may be necessary to accommodate the necessary cabling.