Ispy: Are Your Courtroom Presentations Being Covertly Recorded?

As every litigation attorney knows, recording any legal proceeding is strictly prohibited without the express, written consent of the presiding judge. Unfortunately, every day in courtrooms across America, recordings are happening unbeknownst to either judge or counsel.

How can such a flagrant violation of the rules occur? And without anyone seeming to know about it? It all comes down to a tiny piece of computer hardware relied upon by countless trial technology professionals to “add value” to their trial teams – a VGA capture device. The most popular of these capture devices is, by far, the Epiphan VGA to USB – the best-selling brand on the market.

In many cases, trial technology professionals use the VGA capture device without asking permission of either the court or their own clients – and with good reason. It is unlikely that a judge would approve its use, and no lawyer – understanding the potential consequences – would ever agree to it, either.

How does a VGA capture device work? It’s simple.

As images are sent from the presenter’s laptop, the images are distributed through a Distribution Amplifier to the Audio-Visual system in the courtroom. This is typically done via VGA cables. The VGA capture device is connected to the VGA cable the same way you would connect a projector or monitor. The VGA capture device is then plugged into the capturing computer which can copy the images to the clipboard, record animation to a movie file, or link to any third-party software that permits recording, such as Skype.

When you are in the courtroom, be sure to scrutinize the technology being used in order to identify whether a VGA capture device is in place. You can then address it with your colleagues and take the appropriate action.