SOUTH EUCLID -- While the audience in the South Euclid Municipal Court courtroom is limited to mostly defendants and attorneys – a larger audience could be watching on the Internet.
"Our court is probably one of three in the entire state that live streams and live streams with any level of consistency, and certainly one of the only ones in northeast Ohio that does so," according to Judge Gayle Williams-Byers.
Judge Byers is using technology to bring the municipal court in the Cuyahoga County city of about 22,000 residents to an Internet audience.
What started out in late February as live streaming for monthly night court has now expanded to include all criminal and civil cases – night and day. An average of 50 people a week are logging in to watch, and a recent jury trial attracted more than 100.
"People actually want to know about what is happening and they don't want to know it with commercials in between. They want to see what is happening in real life, to see what happens in their own backyard, in their own environment, and in their own courts that affect them," Judge Byers said.
The reaction from those in the courtroom about the live streaming has varied and there have been some technical glitches along the way, but Judge Byers is pleased with the results so far to bring the courtroom to people's homes, work places, and schools.
"So that we can educate people about how courts work and how they operate in plain English and give them access like they've never had before in a way that they can really start to feel comfortable with this branch of government," Judge Byers said.
The hearing stream is available through the court's website at southeuclidcourt.com