- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 8, 2006

Each week the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free interactive sounds and action.

Virtual justice

Court TV covers the world of American justice, and the premiere cable channel continues to expand its place in cyberspace with the recent release of a broadband area devoted to its RED (Real. Exciting. Dramatic.) program block.

Clips from shows such as “Beach Patrol: Miami Beach,” “Hot Pursuit,” “Video Justice” and “Texas S.W.A.T.,” concentrating on the best action videos from the reality-based series, are added every day to Courttv.com (www.courttv.com).

Visitors click on a large glowing red button to open a new box that contains the streaming content and find 11 sections organized under such tempting names as Rowdy Arrests, Explosions, When Cars Attack and Worst Chase Scenario.

Home-video specialists can submit their own odes to man’s violent or stupid nature, and clips from the site also can be e-mailed to friends.

The RED initiative is nothing compared to the voluminous amount of content spread among the rest of the Court TV site, which includes all levels of multimedia to capture a legal fanatic’s attention.

A stop by the Games section will cause amateur detectives and scientific case crackers to drool as they enter a world of virtual forensics to solve mysteries and learn about crime-research techniques.

Visitors should begin with the Forensics Lab, which combines slide-show imagery, Real Player video segments and the chance to explore three levels of a research facility to learn about 13 areas where science assists the legal system.

Real experts offer opinions and an incredible amount of minutiae about their fields of expertise in DNA Evidence, Blood Splatter, Digital Imaging and Firearm Comparisons.

Among five challenges available, which require investigators to use their finest mouse-click exploration techniques, visitors will need to find a socialite’s dog, examine fingerprints, catch a gold thief and recover cash from a pilfered safe. I particularly enjoyed the less brain-draining Whack a Ghoul.

Yes, it does derive from the carnival game, as the player simply must bash the undead back into the cemetery ground as they pop out (through three levels of difficulty). I am not sure how this fits into the Court TV mission, but the channel does have a show about psychic murder detectives called “Haunting Evidence.”

In fact, visitors can watch the entire first episode of the show at its minisite (www.courttv.com/onair/shows/haunting_evidence/) and take a quiz about 14 famous haunted places.

The Court TV site also melds with the Court TV News site to offer detailed information on more than 50 major trials, with resources such as primary source documents (how about Wynona Ryder’s probation progress report or Courtney Love’s assault-and-battery suit), video moments, photo galleries and maps of the crime scene.

Serious trial watchers also can sign up for 30 days’ worth of complimentary Court TV Extra to watch the complete legal proceedings of the hottest cases. (A credit-card number is required.) After the free-trial period, it’s $4.95 per month to watch complete coverage of, for example, the Fatal Bowling Alley Brawl.

Those who wish to research the history of humanity’s lowest points will want to click Court TV’s associate site, the Crime Library (www.crimelibrary.com), to explore more than 600 nonfiction stories on serial killers, notorious murderers, gangsters and terrorists.

The multipage case breakdowns focus on the history of crime, covering everything from the disappearance of Spokane teen Jamie Lynn Drake to persecuted 1920s actor Fatty Arbuckle to an exploration of what makes serial killers tick. Some of the reports are even peppered with interactive quizzes to reinforce the knowledge.

Additionally, visitors can compose and send an electronic postcard to pals that contains the mug of a legendary criminal — weird but a fun way to contact friends.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message ([email protected]washington times.com). Joseph also writes a Web exclusive column for the Washington Times Web site where he reviews educational software and family friendly video games. Check it out at www.washingtontimes.com/familytimes/romperroom.htm.

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