High-security Courtroom At Stadelheim Jail Installs DIS DCS 6000

A new high-security courtroom was brought into service at Stadelheim  Jail, Munich, Germany in September 2016 — one of the largest in Germany.  The court holds up to 250 people and can be divided into two smaller  courtrooms if required. A particular advantage of the new facility is  that instead of having to be taken out of their cells and across Munich  to the Central City Courts via dedicated prisoner transport vehicles,  defendants can now simply be brought to the court via a secure,  access-controlled entranceway and an underground passageway, remaining  indoors the whole time.

The high-security courtroom  is one of just two like it in the whole of Germany. Because significant  trials often take place there, involving (for example) international  terrorists, important figures in the world of organised crime, or state  security matters, there can be a great deal of media interest. It was  important that the testimony of those in the courtroom should be as  intelligible, and of as high quality, as possible.

AV specialist MEDIA-tek GmbH, based in Bodenkirchen, to the  north-east of Munich, was given the responsibility for the audio-visual  side of the installation at the new courtroom. MEDIA-tek’s Managing  Director Thomas Klug drew up an advanced plan for sound reinforcement  with the assistance of various AV equipment manufacturers, with  intelligibility at the forefront of the design.

Accordingly, all of the seats in the courtroom are fitted with DCS  6000 digital conferencing and interpreter units, which permit  simultaneous translation into up to four different languages. The  language of the court is always German, so the audio signals from  defendants speaking other languages are first routed to an interpreter,  translated simultaneously into German, and then fed into the sound  reinforcement system. The behaviour of the conference system is always  set up to reflect established practice in the judicial process — for  example, judges speaking always take priority over everyone else, and  the system is aware of the court personnel who may interrupt others,  those who must register their wish to speak beforehand, and so on.

The number of seats for defendants, defence counsel and/or joint  plaintiffs can change greatly depending on the trial, so the connections  in courtroom conferencing systems have to be capable of reassignment  and repatching to fit the requirements of the moment. In total, 100  hardware conferencing units are part of the Stadelheim installation,  some free-standing on the courtroom desks, some more permanently built  into the furniture. The output from the court interpreters is always  available at every seat, and can even be sent via infra-red connections  to additional wireless mobile receivers if required.

The audio conferencing system is fully integrated with the court’s  video conferencing system, so no additional microphones or loudspeakers  are required. The person speaking at any one time is recorded by seven  cameras and appears on a large screen; additionally, this setup allows  persons whose testimony is relevant to the trial to be included via  video conferencing, even if they are located elsewhere. Those who may  not be identified for legal reasons, or who have elected to remain  anonymous, may make use of a separate video examination room. Pictures  and audio signals from this room are processed in a computer before they  are transmitted to the courtroom, so that the person testifying may not  be recognised. All these technical features are controlled via  specially programmed Crestron control surfaces, and the entire  conferencing system is set up for each hearing and controlled throughout  by trained court staff via a dedicated computer.

The DCS 6000 has proven itself to be an extremely flexible  conferencing system at the Stadelheim courtroom, readily adaptable to  the fluid requirements of the installation. The system is reliable in  operation, and took account of all of the specifications given by the  Munich Court of Appeal in respect of its legal and technical procedures.  The system is also scalable and can be expanded without difficulty to  accommodate large-scale trials with more co-plaintiffs or defendants.  Custom loudspeakers were even developed and installed in the seating  used by all the main parties in each court action, designed to reliably  reproduce the sound of evidence being heard and also the audio picked up  by the seat’s own conference unit, ensuring that all the spoken  testimony heard in the court is as intelligible as possible.

Gear List

Model Number Quantity Description
DCS 6000 Digital conference system enables meetings of up to 3,800 users to be managed with complete control and reliability.