In the current state of legal technology, many prosecutorial teams are beginning to shift to digital discovery tools, often referred to as eDiscovery.
eDiscovery is the process of digitally sharing discovery materials between the prosecution and defense teams, typically through document management and digital evidence management software platforms.
However, not all prosecutor offices have access to this technology yet. As a result, they still rely on outdated methods such as physically transporting information in banker boxes, CDs, thumb drives, and other physical formats. This is not only time-consuming but also causes frustration for both prosecutors and defense teams.
In addition, while some prosecutorial offices have already adopted eDiscovery, many existing legacy software platforms are antiquated and non-intuitive for users. Too, for defense teams, access portals are typically unreliable and unstable at best. In many ways, the frustrations of these antiquated platforms defeat the purpose of a digital tool; it may potentially create more work for users than before.
In this blog, we’ll examine the discovery challenges faced by prosecutors and defense teams and explore how eDiscovery can mitigate them. We’ll also discuss the impact of advanced, emerging technology, like CivicDocs, and how it can help prosecutors’ workflows and provide defense teams with centralized access to discovery materials.
Join us as we delve into the practical applications of eDiscovery and how vital tools like CivicDocs can bring these advancements to the forefront of the legal landscape.
Let’s dive in.
Understanding the Challenges in eDiscovery Access for Defense Attorneys and Prosecutors
Data Boom: The Volume and Complexity of Data
Digital evidence is increasing at an exponential rate. With the continued production of digital data through smartphones, social media platforms, and home security systems (i.e., Ring doorbells), prosecutors and law enforcement need a centralized location where they can quickly bulk upload and organize files. Recent studies show that digital evidence, now, is a necessary factor in approximately 90% of criminal cases.
As prosecutors and law enforcement have increasing amounts of data to organize, upload, and process, they can’t rely on outdated, slow-processing materials, or print out thousands upon thousands of digitized materials to transport physically. Without updated tech systems, these materials are more easily lost, misplaced, or argued as non-discoverable by defense teams.
Time Constraints & Deadlines
As briefly mentioned above, prosecutors can potentially struggle to get discovery materials to defense teams promptly—particularly if they are relying on paper filing methods or legacy systems. Prosecutors are feeling understaffed and overburdened with cases and managing discovery processes is an added worry, particularly while managing timelines for numerous cases simultaneously. As a result, these manual processes and inefficient tools are hindering the discovery process for prosecutors and defense teams alike.
Ensuring Proper Discoverability
When prosecutors are locating discoverable materials to disclose to defense teams, they often must look in various locations for materials. Prosecutors are obliged to share all of these discoverable materials, and if teams accidentally overlook certain information, it can instantly disqualify a case. Without a centralized digital evidence management platform, prosecutors must spend valuable time compiling digital evidence from various sources. In response, defense teams must potentially sort through a variety of file formats and communication methods from the prosecution team, costing valuable time.
CivicDocs: An eDiscovery and Digital Evidence Solution for Streamlined Access
Streamlined, efficient eDiscovery is no small win. Secure, modern platforms like CivicDocs help prosecutors instantly release discovery to defense teams with a click, from anywhere, and at any time. Features like audit logs, bulk upload capabilities, and advanced search and filtering, among others, can transform prosecutors’ and defense attorneys’ digital evidence access.
Overview of CivicDocs
CivicDocs is CivicEye’s cutting-edge digital evidence management platform. Designed to streamline evidence sharing between law enforcement, prosecutors, and defense teams, CivicDocs is highly secure and maximizes intuitive workflows.
Here are some of CivicDocs’s revolutionary features and capabilities designed to support prosecutors:
Centralized Data Management
CivicDocs allows users to store all of their information in one secure, streamlined location, accessible anywhere, anytime. With a cloud-based network, users can safely take their files with them wherever they go.
Additionally, users can bulk upload numerous files at once, while also maintaining original file structure. This helps prosecutors save time, while also maintaining original organization systems.
Advanced Search and Filtering
When searching for files, users can use CivicDocs’s advanced search functionalities to quickly search through thousands of files in seconds. Instead of digging through files stored in various locations, perhaps both digitally and physically, users can easily access the information they need—all within CivicDocs.
This helps both prosecutors and defense attorneys efficiently locate specific documents within large datasets. Powerful filtering options for refining search results are necessary for allowing users to narrow down relevant materials, and CivicDocs users can do so easily.
Automated Workflows and Collaboration
With secure, modern platforms like CivicDocs, prosecutors can release discovery to defense teams with ease. Audit logs can prove when and where materials were made discoverable, alongside tracking for which users viewed which materials, at what time, and from what location. These features facilitate strong collaboration and document sharing between defense attorneys and prosecutors and allow both teams to access materials anytime and anywhere.
Benefits and Impact of CivicDocs on the eDiscovery Process
Here are some of the ways that these features can directly impact prosecutors and defense teams:
Enhanced Efficiency and Time Savings
By streamlining the discovery process, prosecutors can smoothly pass along materials to defense teams. Both prosecutors and defense teams can more effectively meet deadlines through automated workflows and centralized data management.
Improved Accuracy and Compliance
CivicDocs’ tools such as advanced search capabilities and filtering options enhance accuracy in locating and reviewing relevant materials. Additionally, CivicDocs’ audit logs help ensure compliance with discovery obligations, while also minimizing the risk of missing discoverable documents.
Strengthened Collaboration and Communication
CivicDocs’ unique login portals and role-based logins allow users to easily share information among teams, while also fostering clear communication. These features can help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of prosecutorial and defense parties.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys face many challenges in their typical discovery processes. Without access to modern eDiscovery tools, prosecutors can accidentally omit discoverable information, while also having to deal with frustrating, outdated systems such as physical filing and transportation. Similarly, defense teams may have to interact with outdated legacy systems that crash and/or are frustrating to navigate.
In response, CivicDocs simplifies eDiscovery and manages all files within a centralized, cloud-based platform. With access to modern tools, users can benefit from increased efficiency, improved accuracy, and strengthened collaboration.
To learn more about how CivicDocs can aid your prosecutorial office, click below to speak with our team today.
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