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Live Internet Streaming Coming to the 9th Circuit

(CN) - The 9th Circuit will launch live Internet video streaming of en banc proceedings Monday in San Francisco, a move believed to be the first of its kind for a federal appeals court.

Internet users, on Dec. 9, may access the proceedings via the court's website .

Streaming services will open with five cases scheduled for oral arguments Dec. 9-11.

The nation's busiest federal appeals court says it "is believed to be the first time a federal appellate court will use its technology to deliver live video of a proceeding over the Internet."

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

"The 9th Circuit has a long history of using advances in technology to make the court more accessible and transparent," 9th Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said in a statement. "Video streaming is a way to open the court's doors even wider so that more people can see and hear what transpires in the courtroom, particularly in regard to some of our most important cases."

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.

Since 2010, 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.

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.

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