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Posts Tagged ‘justice’

Court Workers In Fresno County Set To Strike

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Court workers are important to the smooth operation of the American court system, but when workers find it’s necessary to strike to protest work conditions, the system can grind to a halt.   

CourtScribes court reporting agency is working to change the industry by having fewer workers in the courtroom, using internet-age technology to create the official record of court proceedings, using remote transcriptionists and charging attorneys up to 50 percent less. The attorneys not only benefit from a less-expensive transcript, but video and/or audio recording also provides them with a more accurate and verifiable record.

Fresno County, California is one place that could be facing court proceeding disruptions because nearly 300 courtroom workers could walk off the job if they don’t reach an agreement with court administrators on increased pay, hours and benefits.

Clerks, assistants, and court reporters have been working without a contract since September 30th, looking for a raise and protesting steep increases in health care costs as well as seeking better benefits.

Six years ago during the economic crisis, court reporters had their 40 hour week reduced to 35 hour week, according to ABC 30 Action News. The latest proposal would increase the work week to 37.5 hours, but court reporters would not get a pay raise, although clerks, judicial assistants and office assistants would get a 3 percent raise.

Workers protested that the eight to nine percent increase in the cost of health benefits would mean workers would still have to pay more out of pocket, even with the increase in hours. They rejected the proposal and are heading back to the negotiation table but are still considering a strike.

Court administrators issued a statement saying, “We are very disappointed to hear rumors about the employees’ vote to not accept the Court’s offer. The Court has no more money to offer.”

National Law Enforcement Museum Opens In D.C.

Posted on: October 15th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Law enforcement is any important part of the legal process, just as court reporting plays a crucial role.

A new National Law Enforcement Museum has opened in Washington, D.C. offering interactive exhibits the founders hope will help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

Among the more than 21,000 artifacts housed at the new museum are the phone that received the first 911 emergency call, the desk J. Edgar Hoover used as FBI director, and the handcuffs used by a police officer to arrest Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

The purpose of the museum is to honor law enforcement professionals and to give people a greater appreciation for what officers do, CEO Craig Floyd told Fox News.

“People are, hopefully, going to come away with a better understanding and appreciation of the value and the vital role that law enforcement plays in our society,” Floyd said.

The Day in the Life exhibit allows visitors to see what a typical day is like for a patrol officer in various cities. Visitors can also go inside a real prison cell.

Visitors can learn what it’s like to be a 911 emergency by visiting the 911 dispatch center and going through a simulation, taking mock calls and deciding how to proceed and get help to “victims.”

A key feature of the museum is the Hall of Remembrance, which honors fallen law enforcement professionals by displaying photos of officers killed in the line of duty.

Congress approved the use of federal land for the museum, but developers were required to build most of the museum underground. Two of the floors of the 58,000-square-foot building are underground.

Tickets for the museum, located at 444 E Street N.W., are $21.95 for adults, $16 for seniors ($14.50 for military, veterans, law enforcement and students with valid ID) and $12 for children under the age of 12.

Beijing Introduces Internet Court To Improve Efficiency

Posted on: October 8th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Technology is advancing the way that court reporting is handled in United States Courts, and technology is being instituted in courts around the world.

China is so invested in the legal aspects of future technological developments that it has set up an entire court system not only set up to deal with technology-related cases but also run by technology.

The Chinese government in Beijing has put into place an internet court powered by facial and speech recognition technology, the China Money Network reported. The goal of the new system is to provide more efficient legal services for the city’s fast-developing technology companies.

The Beijing Internet Court, which is located in Fengtai district, is primarily focused on hearing cases regarding the internet and intellectual property rights, including disputes caused by online loans, online shopping contracts and online copyright cases.

The average duration of an internet  trial is 41 days, about half that of a conventional court trial in China, and a hearing lasts 28 minutes, whichis 60 percent.

Beijing’s internet court is the second in the country. An internet court was opened in 2017 in Hangzhou, and China plans to set up a third internet court in Guangzhou.

“The judges and all the parties are connected via a screen, where the plaintiffs and the defendants can participate in court hearings via their computers or mobile-phones,” Zhu Ting, a judge at the Beijing Internet Court, told state-owned Chinese media outlet Xinhua News Agency.

The court uses facial recognition and speech recognition technology during the online proceedings that draws on a national ID system curated by the country’s public security bureaus to verify participants’ identities. Electronic signatures are used to sign any documents.

The Beijing internet court also can automatically generate legal documents, use machine translation and allow voice interactions with its knowledge system.

According to Xinhaua, Beijing handled 45,382 internet-related cases including online shopping and online service contracts in 2017. In the eight months from January to August 2018, cases increased to 37,631, with a growth rate of nearly 25 percent.

New York Adds Watchdog Organization For Prosecutors

Posted on: September 17th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Accurate court reporting is an important part of the criminal justice system, and so is fairness in prosecution.

New York state is working to reform its court system, and as part of that effort, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation establishing the nation’s first State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct.

The Commission will review and investigate prosecutorial conduct to address allegations of misconduct which lead to malicious prosecutions and wrongful convictions, frequently impacting people of color and marginalized communities.

By avoiding wrongful convictions and associated retrial costs and settlements, the Commission will save taxpayers money, the state said in a statement.

“Our criminal justice system must fairly convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent,” Governor Cuomo said. “When any prosecutor consciously disregards that fundamental duty, communities suffer and lose faith in the system, and they must have a forum to be heard and seek justice. This first-in-the-nation Commission will serve to give New Yorkers comfort that there is a system of checks and balances in the criminal justice system, and to root out any potential abuses of power to ensure that our justice system is just for all New Yorkers.”

Senator John DeFrancisco said, “There have been many cases of individuals who’ve been wrongfully convicted and who’ve served jail time because of the misconduct of some prosecutors. Despite the good work of most prosecutors, there must be a remedy against those who violate the law. This prosecutorial conduct commission legislation, signed by the Governor today, will provide that remedy and also provide oversight by an independent body, which over time will change the conduct of the wrongdoing of prosecutors, and help to ensure all a fairer criminal justice system.”

Governor Cuomo also led a successful effort to expand New York’s DNA databank in 2012, making New York the first state in the nation to require DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor.

The Governor also established the Work for Success Initiative which has helped over 18,000 formerly incarcerated people find work upon their release.