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Live Audio Streaming Reaches 9th Circuit

(CN) - On the heels of its adoption of live Internet video streaming, the 9th Circuit announced it would begin streaming audio of all its proceedings on Monday.

Internet users can listen to oral arguments by visiting "Live Oral Arguments" of the court's website .

The first round of cases to benefit from this technology is being held from Jan. 6-9 at the Richard H. Chambers U.S. Courthouse in Pasadena, Calif.

Just a month earlier, the nation's busiest federal appeals court adopted live video streaming, which it said was the first of its kind.

Broadcast and cable news networks previously provided live coverage of 9th Circuit court proceedings, including Internet viewing.

Public access to digital audio recordings of all oral arguments heard at all locations has been available since 2003.

The James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco, the William K. Nakamura U.S. Courthouse in Seattle, and the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Ore., will also soon adopt live audio streaming.

Digital video recordings of 11-judge en banc courts and some three-judge panels have been available since 2010.

Since that year, the court has video streamed en banc proceedings to all of its courthouses. En banc proceedings in Pasadena may be viewed at the San Francisco courthouse, the William K. Nakamura U.S. Courthouse in Seattle and the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Ore.

En banc courts, used to resolve intra-circuit conflicts and other legal questions of exceptional importance, consist of the chief judge of the circuit and 10 judges drawn at random, rather than a three-judge appellate panel.

On average, the 9th Circuit says, about 20 cases receive en banc review each year.

The 9th Circuit holds en banc proceedings every quarter in San Francisco's Browning U.S. Courthouse and Richard H. Chambers U.S. Court of Appeals Building in Pasadena, Calif.

The 9th Circuit, which hears appeals cases decided by executive branch agencies and federal trial courts in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions, is also one of just two federal appellate courts that allows news media to use cameras in the courtroom.

Since 2003, the court has used its own technology to provide public access to digital audio recordings of all oral arguments heard at all locations on a next-day basis.

All 11 courtrooms in the 9th Circuit's four courthouses are video equipped. Three courtrooms - in San Francisco, Pasadena and Portland - are equipped with high-definition video cameras.

The 9th Circuit says it is working with an outside provider to meet bandwidth demands for the streaming services, which are expected to draw lawyers and law students, media and the general public.

Digital audio and video files will continue to be stored online.

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