Chapter 6:
   Into the Screen: Toward Virtual Judgment


Screen capture, E-Justice Center, Second Life,
courtesy of The University of Lisbon Law School, Portugal



 
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Chapter 6, Into the Screen: Toward Virtual Judgment, explores two convergent movements already underway in law: the ability of cutting-edge evidentiary media, from holography to augmented reality to fully immersive environments, to capture more and more of reality and make it accessible to legal decision makers in court; and the accelerating movement of dispute resolution itself onto computer screens. When witnesses and even attorneys appear only via videoconferencing, can they be “present” enough for justice to be done? And when disputants meet only through screens or even in virtual worlds – an online court offering arbitration already exists in the virtual world Second Life – how will the hardware and software that runs the system affect the kind of justice that emerges? The impulse to turn to computers to make law more efficient and accessible is laudable. Some may think that computers, with their speed, power, and apparent objectivity, may even be better decision makers than humans. Yet everyone involved in the legal system, both the regular players and especially the general public, must be alert to the risks: who will design the interfaces, who will control the software, who will own and control the data. All of these issues and more will determine what justice will look like as law goes online.

Kinds of representation of reality:

For the use of virtual worlds in legal education, see “CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion”: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone. A video trailer for the course demonstrates augmented virtuality.

“Virtual Reality: A Short Introduction” (text and pictures): http://www-vrl.umich.edu/intro/

“State of the Art Report: Computational Photography,” Eurographics 2006: http://www.cg.tuwien.ac.at/events/EG06/program-STARs.php. For an example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image: Glasses_ 800_ edit.png

Virtuality as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): “Virtual Iraq: VR Based Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder”: http://www.defense-update.com/products /v/VR-PTSD.htm

Display technologies:

Deep space monitor: http://www.lightspacetech.com/

A new kind of PowerPoint: Sign Engine Theater, http://people.envision.purdue.edu/~tjrogers/ssa/video/index.html

Jeff Han, “Unveiling the Genius of Multi-touch Interface Design,” presentation at TED Conference, February 2006: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/65

Johnny Chung Lee, “Low-Cost Multi-touch Whiteboard Using the Wiimote”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s5EvhHy7eQ

Online dispute resolution and virtual courts (discussed in book unless otherwise noted):

Singapore’s Supreme Court website: http://app.supremecourt.gov.sg/default.aspx?pgID =361#10

CyberSettle: http://www.CyberSettle.com/info/main.aspx

Square Trade: http://www.squaretrade.com/pages/

eBay’s Community Court: https://www.ebaycourt.com/cc/courtindex.jsf (not discussed)

MARS (mediation, arbitration, resolution, settlement): www.resolvemydispute.com

Alternative dispute resolution using hand held devices: http://ict4peace.wordpress.com/2007/11/08/

On-line jury pools and focus groups:

Knowledge Networks: http://www.knowledgenetworks.com/index5.html

Percepticon: http://www.i-courthouse.com/main.taf

Virtual Jury: http://www.virtualjury.com/focusgrp.htm

Social norms between virtual worlds and real life:

Incident involving Marines caught on tape throwing a puppy down a precipice: http://federalism.typepad.com/crime_federalism/2008/03/david-motari-ab.html. See also: http://abcnews.go.com/US/ wireStory?id=5051580.

Postings on MySpace lead to a teen’s suicide: Bob Tedeschi, “After Suicide, Blog Insults Are Debated”: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/03/business/media/03blog.html. After the trial of a mother for the postings, reflections on the story: Danah Boyd, “Reflections on Lori Drew, bullying, and solutions to helping kids”: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2008/11/30/reflections_on.html