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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 1996
VIDEO ARRAIGNMENT COULD CLEAR CLOGGED COURTS
AND SAVE TAXPAYER MONEY
Bell Atlantic Wires Courthouse to Jail House
NEWARK, N.J. -- Crowded criminal dockets across the
delaying justice and wasting taxpayers' money.
But not in New Jersey. Here, judges, prosecutors, correction
officials and defense attorneys are clearing legal logjams with Bell
Atlantic's innovative Video Arraignment system.
Video Arraignment, a two-way, digital audio/video communications
system, makes the constitutionally mandated "speedy trial" more
just an abstract principle by connecting prisoners instantly with both
counsel and courtroom.
The system allows jail administrators to dispense with costly, risky
prisoner transportation between jails and courthouses for routine
Defendants and their lawyers simply walk into a room at a jail or
prison, sit down at a computer terminal and transmit a plea to a judge
at another video-conference site.
Video Arraignment also provides prisoners, who often wait weeks to
discuss cases with counsel, with swifter access to legal assistance.
Public defenders, who once had to travel from jail to jail across the
state, now make the same trip through cyberspace. Hours wasted on the
road, now can be invested in client casework.
Video Arraignment is being used in five New Jersey locations:
Northern State Prison in Newark, Essex County Court House in Newark,
The Essex County Public Defenders Office in Newark, Bayside Prison in
Leesburg and Southern State Correctional Facility in Delmont. A
PictureTel* Desktop PCS 100 computer, equipped with a video camera and
a 20-inch monitor, is placed at each location and connected to other
video-arraignment sites by high-speed Integrated Services Digital
Network (ISDN) telephone lines.
In the future, Bell Atlantic hopes to wire all New Jersey prisons,
courthouses and public defender's offices into a criminal justice
Judicial administrators who want more information about Video
Arraignment should contact Jackie Slate at 609-599-8399 or Michael
Jacoby at 609-849-2690.
Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.
* Trademark of the PictureTel Corp.
- Shannon Fioravanti, 703-974-5455
Tim Ireland, 201-649-2279