Virtual Reality: The Reality of Getting it Admitted


Mary C. Kelly & Jack N. Bernstein


VOL. XIII • Fall 1994 • NO. 1 (table of contents)

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Computer animation is the newest tool to turn up in courtrooms around the country in the area of demonstrative evidence. These animations create a virtual reality that lawyers can use to demonstrate objects, situations, or acts to juries -- objects, situations, and acts that would otherwise be difficult for a group of people to completely appreciate or understand through more traditional evidnetiary means. Recent technological advancements mean that this three-dimensional virtual reality can make quite an impact on a jury or judge, without making too great an impact on client's budgets.

Computer animation and the various types of virtual reality are clearly defined and differentiated. Demonstrations of the advantages of virtual reality are explained, such as, the fact that virtual reality will soon become more affordable to the general public. Additionally, the area of admissibility is explored. This area explores the purposes of virtual reality animation as evidence at trial.

Currently, many contrary rulings as to the admissibility of such evidence in different jurisdictions exist. A proposal is made that this type of evidence should be allowed and should be treated as equal to any other type of computer evidence. The Federal Rules of Evidence are employed to set the standard of admissibility and to decide if this type of evidence would be an aid to the jury or if it could be construed as misleading.

No aspect of society has been left unchanged by the technological advances of today. The law is no different. It is important that the law utilize all those tools available so that the administration of justice can be aided by those advancements in technology. Virtual reality can present the jury with a visual reproduction of those factual issues the jury must decide. Any aids that the courts can supply the jury with to help make the jury's decisions should be allowed to help the administration of justice in a fair and equal manner.

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