Bell Atlantic-NJ Wires Courthouse Video Arraignment System

June 12, 1996


Bell Atlantic Wires Courthouse to Jail House

NEWARK, N.J. -- Crowded criminal dockets across the country are 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 than 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 arraignments.

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 video network.

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.

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