Merced County Superior Court eyes two-way video visitation for lawyers and clients

vpatton@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 7, 2013 

— The new calendar system isn't the only thing subject to change at the Merced County Superior Court this year.

Officials are discussing plans for a two-way video visitation system that would enable attorneys in Merced to communicate with clients at the John Latorraca Correctional Center near El Nido.

The court has a similar video conference system in place for arraignment hearings.

Brian McCabe, the superior court's presiding judge, said a video visitation system would cut down on travel times for attorneys, who must often drive more than 10 miles out of Merced to meet with their clients at the jail.

The court is also looking at potentially putting a two-way video conference system in each courtroom, McCabe said, to communicate with people in other counties.

The plans for the new system are still preliminary, and the cost is still unknown, said Linda Romero Soles, superior court executive officer.

She's hopeful the new technology will be in place later this year.

McCabe said the new technology is about finding "creative ways" to make the court more efficient.

"Again it's money," he said. "Money has held us back for a while."

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsunstar.com.

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