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NEWS

 Judge Chambers has Sight Service Tools


 
June 26, 2015
Daily Corinthian
Written by Zack Steen
 
Alcorn County Judge Steve Little can now see better than ever.
New equipment installed this week at Little’s Alcorn Regional Correctional Facility office will help the judge continue to get the job done while battling the genetic blindness disorder, Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy — also known as LHON.
 
Little began experiencing central vision loss in April 2014 and within a few months the Justice Court judge had lost central vision in both eyes.
 
"Last report I got said my eyesight was 2400/2800," said Little. "In the state of Mississippi, they consider 2200 legally blind."
 
Little said he can no longer drive and often only sees shadows.
 
"The disorder has really affected my work," he said. "Up until this week, I have had to rely on someone to be with me in the courtroom to read me affidavits and other documents.”
 
Little’s Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services counselor Kathy Yates, who helps her patients stay independent and working in the community, first turned the judge on to the possibility of placing sight service equipment in his office and courtroom.
 
"I was open to it, as long as it helped me get the job done," said Little.
 
The new equipment included a 24-inch monitor with video and zoom magnification, a 17-inch laptop with document scanning camera, an oversized keyboard and several pieces of screen magnification and zoom text software.
 
"The system’s camera can take a picture of an eight point document and enlarge it on the screen to 60 point," said Mike Self with Freedom Scientific, who helped install the system.  "The software can read a document aloud and can magnify any program on the computer like Microsoft Word, email, websites and other special software used by the jurisdictional system.”

The judge was also provided a portable monitor with attached movable, zoom camera which he can use in the courtroom.
 
"With the portable system, he can zoom in on documents or witnesses to see facial expressions," added Self. "It's a very handy tool."
Little used the portable system in the courtroom for the first time on Wednesday.
 
"It is definitely going to help me do a better job," he said. "Once I get more comfortable with it, I think I might even be able to get things done faster than before."
 
All equipment and software was paid with state and federal funds. Little said no county funds were used.
 
An estimated 35,000 people in the world are affected by LHON, which can cause optic nerve to atrophy. About 100 people reportedly lose central vision due to the disorder every year.
 
 
POSTED: 7/1/2015