New digital recording system in all courtrooms widens access to justice and promotes confidence in the judicial system
FTR Touch systems were recently installed at the Rama Judicial de Puerto Rico. The Judiciary issued a Press Release, highlighting the benefits of the solution; below is the English version of the same (translated from the original Spanish version).
March 18, 2013: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, the Honorable Federico Hernández Denton, today signed an Administrative Order at the San Juan Judicial Center that extended the use of a modern recording of court proceedings known as “Touch For the Record” to all investigation rooms of the Court of First Instance, municipal halls, halls of preliminary hearings, juvenile halls and hearings before examiners of child support. It is a system that will be operated by the very judges who have been recording court proceedings since its inception. Under this initiative, the Chief Justice of the Judiciary “expands access to justice and provides citizens greater guarantees of transparency.”
“The judiciary adopted, as public policy in 2008, the recording of all oral proceedings in their rooms, regardless of the type of process, the subject or the stage of the case. Currently, the recording process is available in the High Court in civil and criminal cases in the trial phase, and in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. With this system, to be operated easily by the judges themselves from the bench, without any support staff, we cover all legal proceedings, from initiation to completion. “said Hernández Denton.
Among the advantages of this system the Chief Justice said it is more efficient, faster and cheaper than the old tapes (reel to reel), has more storage, provides direct access to the proceedings concluded and facilitates the preparation of re-recordings, transcripts and minutes.
“In addition to the operational and administrative benefits, from the judicial point of view, it results in a safeguard for both the judge and the parties that all procedures are recorded and can be reviewed. As an example, there was no recorded record of what happened in a given cause for arrest pursuant to Rule 6 of the Criminal Procedure, or in processes under the well-known Law 140 on Provisional Legal Status. Now, in case of a dispute, one can review what was discussed or transcribed into a bill which provides greater guarantees of transparency and fairness to all parties, “said Hernández Denton. He added that the new system will also be available for viewing by examiners for child support.
The implementation of this new system entailed the training of municipal judges who will be responsible for the operation of the equipment. Investment in equipment and licenses for the implementation of the new system was $ 1.5 million.
“The implementation of this project greatly advances our goal of putting technology at the service of judicial work for the benefit of the citizenry that everyday requires more agility in judicial proceedings. Similarly, it meets many of the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan of the Judiciary for the years 2012 to 2015, entitled “Justice and Service,” aimed at promoting excellence in the administration of justice and public confidence in their tribal “concluded Hernández Denton.