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 KALAMAZOO, Mich., March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Hi-tech computers have turned a Kalamazoo County Circuit Court into a 21st century courtroom ... a few years early. Deaf litigants watch computer screens showing testimony seconds after words are spoken. Attorneys find witness statements that were made earlier in the day solely by touching a key. The system can provide printed transcripts at the end of each working day. Hearing-impaired litigants watch computer screens showing testimony seconds after the words are spoken.
 A World's Fair Exhibit? In fact, it's a Computer-Integrated- Courtroom (CIC), a state-of-the-art system that links computers to a court reporter's stenotype machine. The CIC, spearheaded by the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters (MAPCR), was funded by the Kalamazoo County Bar Association and the Stenograph Corporation. The Hon. William G. Schma will preside over the courtroom with the CIC system.
 "The CIC is an integral step toward the concept of a 'Total Access Courtroom' where people with hearing, visual and mobility impairments may participate fully in the judicial process, fulfilling the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Michigan Handicappers' Civil Rights Act," said Ronald DiBartolomeo, MAPCR president.
 The Kalamazoo CIC's primary feature is real-time translation, a process that instantly translates court reporter's notes into English and flashes them onto computer screens placed around the courtroom. This is especially important for deaf and hearing-impaired litigants because it allows them to follow testimony.
 "The implications are extremely beneficial for the hearing-impaired because they were excluded from court proceedings in the past," said Judge Schma. "Besides being in compliance with the recent Americans with Disabilities Act, I consider it particularly helpful in bench opinions where a jury is not present."
 "The CIC is the most modern technology available for reporting court proceedings today," said Carla Bebault, the official reporter who will operate the system. "My own transcription time has been dramatically reduced. Several ecology-minded attorneys also prefer the capability of having a transcript copied on ASCII diskette rather than hard copy, saving trees and storage space."
 "The courtroom has evolved before our very eyes, and the efficiency of the courtroom is now unsurpassed for deaf and hearing-impaired persons, judges, and lawyers with the court reporter's use of Stenograph's CaseView system," said Pat A. Lutza, immediate past president of the Michigan association. "This is MAPCR's second CaseView system -- the first was installed in Grand Rapids Circuit Court 14 months ago."
 Other features of the CIC include access to pre-trial depositions and previous testimony, access to legal research programs such as WestLaw and LEXIS, and ability to produce transcripts (printed on computer disk) at the end of the day.
 The hardware and software for the system was provided by Stenograph Corporation of Mount Prospect, Ill.
 -0- 3/9/93
 /NOTE: The Computer-Integrated-Courtroom will be demonstrated Thursday, March 11, at 2 p.m., Kalamazoo County Circuit Court, Courtroom A with the Hon. William G. Schma presiding, 227 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo.
 CONTACT: Pamela Moceri of Pam Moceri & Associates, 313-540-0020, or Maureen McGuire of Issues, Inc., 908-248-2389, both for Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters/

CO: Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters;
 Stenograph Corporation; Kalamazoo County Bar Association ST: Michigan, Illinois IN: SU: PDT

KE -- DE018 -- 4640 03/09/93 16:20 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 9, 1993

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