Cass District Court expands video systemPublished 9:55am Friday, November 20, 2009
By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News
CASSOPOLIS – Cass County Board of Commissioners Thursday night awarded a $9,714 contract to Midstate Security of Grandville for a video arraignment system for the Fourth District Court hearing room.
Purchase and installation of the system is in the 2010 budget through the office equipment pool fund.
Midstate supplied compatible systems in the jail, Circuit and District courtrooms.
Defendants only need to be escorted within the security of the jail to the video arraignment room where, seated before the audio/video console, visual and voice communications with the magistrate are carried out.
At the same time, the magistrate, seated in front of an LCD, 15-inch, flat-screen camera/monitor unit, can both view and converse with the defendant.
The position of th camera, in relationship with the monitor, affords eye-to-eye contact with the accused.
An additional LCD color monitor is provided in the courtroom for audience viewing of the proceedings.
This monitor is capable of displaying either a split-screen showing all of the cameras or a full-screen display of the defendant.
Defense counsel may be located in the courtroom or in the detention facility with the client and be visible on the monitors located in the courtroom.
A small dome camera will be mounted in the courtroom ceiling to cover the area occupied by the defense attorney. This image is transmitted to one of the four “quad” segments on the screen the defendant views.
Also, District Judge Stacey Rentfrow received a $10,000 planning grant that will provide funds necessary to establish a treatment program for offenders who appear in her court.