By Judge Amy Jones and Judge Marc Rothenberg • Marion Superior Court
In April 2022, the Marion Circuit and Superior Courts moved to a new courthouse on the east side of Indianapolis. The project was managed by the 4-member Marion Superior Court Executive Committee and Presiding Judge Amy Jones. Judge Marc Rothenberg chaired the technology efforts for the new facility. Judges Jones and Rothenberg have shared their top five favorite things in the new facility.
1. Exhibit display system
We installed state-of-the-art evidence and presentation display systems—called NOMAD—in each courtroom. Customized for our courts’ needs, NOMAD allows photographic, physical, audio, and video evidence to be displayed (and even zoomed in at high-resolution) to the court, parties, public, and jurors. Gone are the days of parties trying to haul boxes of evidence into the courtroom. Now parties, including self-represented litigants, can use their own devices to share their evidence.
2. Wayfinding & information kiosks
Similar to an airport terminal, monitors are available in the lobby and on every floor of the courthouse allowing visitors to quickly identify where proceedings are being heard that day. The court’s daily scheduled hearings—pulled directly from Odyssey every 15 minutes—are listed by name, cause number, and hearing location. Any visitor can also use one of seven kiosks located in the lobby to search for a hearing location by name.
3. Remote control
While we love all the technology available in the new courthouse, it’s important for our judges to maintain control of what information is displayed and to whom (for example, attorneys are able to publish an exhibit to the judge for review before it is admitted into evidence). Each courtroom is equipped with a Crestron device giving the judge complete control over what is seen and heard on the numerous display monitors throughout the courtrooms. We think of it as our beloved universal remote.
4. Legal resource center
When we designed our courthouse without traditional individual court offices, we knew we wanted to have a place where parties could seek assistance from the court. The Legal Resource Center is designed to offer information and resources to self-represented litigants. The center is establishing partnerships with legal aid service providers in the community to offer open office hours to increase efficiency for litigants and the court. The center employs two full time court navigators—one of whom speaks Spanish—to assist members of the public. Our court navigators have assisted nearly 750 customers—for an average of 33 minutes each—since the doors opened in June 2022. And the center has been such a huge success that the court is adding a third navigator to assist the public.
5. Video conferencing
Our courtrooms now include Cisco DX-80 video conference kits that allow us to easily log into our remote hearings with the touch of a button. With the high-quality screen and camera, we can use this device to participate in the hearing, which in turn frees up our laptops to access Odyssey during remote proceedings. When not in use for remote hearings, the DX-80 can be used as a second monitor. It also allows us to make easy video calls to collaborate with colleagues and staff.