How Technology is Changing the Courtroom

The New Landscape of Trial Technology

Courtroom technology has progressed far beyond a PowerPoint presentation with COOL AND FANCY FONTS. (We all loved using those banner fonts in school, didn’t we?)

Technology has surpassed using whiteboards and laser pointers during a trial. Some lawyers are even using 3D models and virtual reality in courtrooms now, transporting jurors into a fresh hell where they can see a toxic spill from all possible angles or really get up close to that car accident. They work with teams of video game designers and graphic designers, sometimes taking up to a year to make these perfect models that must be submitted and approved by a judge as evidence. (Man, it would really stink if they took that full year and then didn’t get approved by a judge, wouldn’t it?)

These can cost up to $100,000 to make, so not everybody has the budget for that. Plus, imagine if it were a criminal trial and you were recreating a murder scene. Can you fathom how emotionally scarring that would be for a juror?

Trial Technology Options for Every Budget

For lawyers with a more economical budget, you can achieve much of the same impact without the therapists’ bills. Day-in-the-life videos, for instance, can provide a look into a person’s world without actually dragging a juror into the world. That visceral impact will still remain, but the jury will be able to keep their emotional faculties about them.

Visual aids, videos, photographs — these all provide important reminders of what a plaintiff suffered, and instead of an emotional hijacking (which a VR headset will do, because it is such a visceral experience), the juror will be able to make a rational decision.

This is not to say that a VR headset isn’t a quality investment if you can do it. It can be a good thing to literally step into the shoes of someone, to be where they were, to inspect for yourself what happened.

However, no designer, no matter how good, can literally recreate an accident scene — it doesn’t matter how much evidence is at hand. There is always some little bit missing that will make sure the factors are never quite what they were when the event occurred. As such, recreating it — with the designer’s inherent and unconscious biases — will create something new and different. That is important to remember. You are experiencing the designer’s story, not what happened during the accident.

Traditions Never Die, but They Do Adapt

This is why traditional trial technology — visual aids, videos and photographs, set apart from the eye so that they can be reviewed at the jury’s leisure — can be relied upon more than something like virtual reality. As fancy as VR is, it is overwhelming. It overcomes the senses and the juror’s judgment. Simply put, it’s too cool.

Stick with what you know, and keep your wits about you. Contact Orange Legal today for a trial tech demonstration, and find out how these can help your case.