Mute button is only one of benefits

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adams County Justice Court judges are literally on the front lines of the judicial system.

Often that means they get verbal — and sometimes physical — jabs and threats.

We can only imagine the countless times long-time Judge Charlie Vess has dreamed of having a mute button to silence loud, foul-mouthed suspects appearing before him.

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Vess — along with fellow Justice Court Judge Patrician Dunmore — may have that civil pleasure permanently soon if a video conferencing test is proved successful.

The plan — tested by Vess on Tuesday — allows persons charged with a crime that are in custody to appear before the court on TV while they sit safely in custody across the street at the Adams County Jail.

Video conferencing technology has been around for years, however, as with many such technologies, the prices have fallen greatly.

We applaud both justice court officials and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office for identifying this option and quickly turning the good idea in a live test.

If the county ultimately decides to proceed with this system on a permanent basis, it would seem to be good for all involved.

Prisoners would be protected from public attack by victims and their families. Judges would be protected from violent, emotional outbursts in court.

And, ultimately, taxpayers would benefit by not having to pay sheriff’s deputies to escort prisoners to and from their court appearances.

The plan seems to have great benefits for all involved — not to mention being easier on the judges’ ears.