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File #: 21-1892    Version: 1 Name:
Type: Request for approval Status: Agenda Ready
File created: 4/23/2021 In control: Commissioners Court
On agenda: 4/27/2021 Final action:
Title: Request by the District Courts for approval to use department rollover funds in the amount of $126,585 to purchase technology equipment to conduct hearings with a mix of in-person and remote appearance by case parties.
Attachments: 1. 21-1892 - Comm Ct Remote Appearance Technology Request 27APR2021.pdf
Date Ver.Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
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To: Harris County Commissioners Court

Through: Clay Bowman, Court Administrator, Harris County District Courts
prepared
Prepared By: Clay Bowman, Court Administrator, Harris County District Courts

Subject: SUPPLEMENTAL - Remote Appearance Technology for District Courts
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Project ID (If applicable]:

Purpose and Request:
title
Request by the District Courts for approval to use department rollover funds in the amount of $126,585 to purchase technology equipment to conduct hearings with a mix of in-person and remote appearance by case parties.
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Background and Discussion:
During the past year, as courts responded to conditions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, judges began to hold hearings with parties appearing remotely via teleconferencing (ZOOM). To address the growing case backlog and expedite hearings, courts are requesting technology to support "Hybrid courtrooms" for a mix of in-person and remote appearance by case parties. Equipping 37 courtrooms each with a camera, a Zoom license and control device, and necessary peripherals will allow judges to conduct hearings and trials with some or all parties appearing remotely via Zoom teleconference. Additional equipment, including 9 portable video display carts will be pooled for courts to share as needed. The current situation requires active deployment of shared equipment from a limited inventory by technical support staff. The equipment currently shared will complement the additional equipment requested, to provide coverage for all courts.

"Hybrid courtrooms" will better support bench and jury trials, where some parties appear in-person and other parties appear by video conference. The same equipment will support virtual/in person juries.
Systems will:
1) integrate with and complement existing Evidence Presentation Systems as well as with planned system upgrades;
2) support more equitable and better quality access to courts for case parties who cannot or choose not to appear i...

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