NECMF

Nov 7, 2015 11:01 AM

Video arraignments more the norm than the exception

The Associated Pres

CONCORD— All but one of New Hampshire's district courtrooms are wired for video arraignments of criminal defendants from local jails, making it rare for an incarcerated suspect to walk into a courtroom for their first appearance.

Vermont embarked on its second pilot program on video arraignments in August. A first attempt was abandoned in 2011 due to cost and technology concerns. Maine held its first video arraignment in a criminal case in 2006 and courthouses in all 16 counties are equipped for video arraignments and conferencing.

But some defense lawyers — including one in a recent high profile murder case — object, saying depicting their clients in a jail setting and jumpsuit undercuts the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Officials say video arraignments enhance security and cut transportation costs.

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