Whitfield County commissioners approve new video system for the courthouse

File/Daily Citizen-News

A defendant looks at video evidence during a trial in Whitfield County Superior Court. The county Board of Commissioners has approved the purchase of a new video system for the courthouse.

By mid-December, courtrooms in the Whitfield County Courthouse should have a new video/evidence presentation system, according to Superior Court Administrator Brad Butler.

On Monday, the county Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to accept a $583,284 bid from the WH Platts Co. of Norcross for a new video system. Board Chairman Jevin Jensen typically votes only if there is a tie.

Butler said the system will be installed in eight courtrooms — all four Superior Court courtrooms, the Probate Court courtroom, the Juvenile Court courtroom and two Magistrate Court courtrooms.

The system is used to record and present evidence to judges and juries and is connected to the county jail for first appearance hearings so inmates don't have to be brought to the courthouse.

"We are currently using 16-year-old analog technology," said Butler. "The current systems were built and put into place before iPhones ever hit the market. We can no longer find parts to replace anything as they are no longer made."

Butler said currently there is just one Superior Court courtroom with a functioning system and it runs at "about 90% capability because of other issues such as microphones not working. The lower courts also have lost the ability to record and adequately display evidence. All of these things prevent the judicial system from serving the community in an efficient manner."

Jensen said commissioners are concerned the one functioning video display in Superior Court might fail if they don't replace the system.

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