Lyon County commissioners unanimously approved a range of courtroom improvements involving audio and video systems during an action session Thursday morning.
Lyon County District Court Administrator Ruth Wheeler presented the details of the project, which she said would hopefully be completed by the end of October. A total of $9,600 — which is split between the court and fees from the county attorney office’s diversion fund —will cover the costs of the whole project, including any new equipment and installation fees.
“When the Lyon County Courthouse was built, the technology that was installed in the courtrooms was state-of-the-art and up-to-date,” Wheeler said. “With all of the new technology over the years, it’s sort of antiquated now and it has been difficult for attorneys to plug into the audio/video equipment in our courtrooms without using converters. Devices nowadays don’t have VGA connections anymore, so we’ve been trying to find ways to make it easier on attorneys so they can present their evidence without having cables, converters and all of that getting in the way while they’re just trying to present their case.
“The county attorney’s office, the district court and the Lyon County IT Department just kind of got together and started talking about what we could do to make the situation better. We contacted the Electric Contracting Company out of Wichita, and they came up with some switchers and scalers that we could put in the podiums so that attorneys could come to court either with an old computer, new computer or even just a thumb drive, plug in and have the connections be made.”
The proposed updates will be installed in courtrooms 2 through 4 only, as they are large enough to accommodate jury trials. Still, Wheeler said the new equipment would go a long way to improving the general ease of system access and presentation of arguments involved in more complex cases, helping speed up proceedings for all involved.
“We’re just really excited to be able to do this so that attorneys can come into the courtroom and focus on presenting their case instead of worrying about which computer they need to bring or whether they have the right connection,” Wheeler said. “I think this is going to be really beneficial moving forward in this digital age.”