Google Maps in the Courtroom

I was in court this morning waiting for my case to be called. The judge was hearing a short argument over how much access and expert needed to a private home to render his opinion. To demonstrate the situation, one of the attorneys had brought in some pictures of the houses at issue.

While the attorneys were arguing, the judge asked for the address of the property at issue and then pulled that up on Google Maps. She asked the attorneys if the map accurately depicted the homes at issue, both attorneys agreed that it did.

From my perspective, the great aspects of this situation are that the judge actually had a computer on the bench that was connected to the internet and that she was not afraid to use it to resolve the discovery dispute between the parties.

Had she pulled this up during a trial and used it to issue her ruling, there would likely be some evidentirary issues. Here, however, this was a discovery dispute that she was able to resolve more efficiently because she was better able to accurately picture the property in question.