From Crime to Courtroom: Multi-media Integrity

In a recent article from “Police Chief,” video evidence is described as the “silent witness that speaks for itself,” and that’s nothing but the truth. With the video, images, audio and metadata needed to playback crime scenes, it’s critical that multi-media evidence can be unmistakably seen and heard by the entire courtroom.

Many organizations, homeowners and investigative offices think evidence is safeguarded by investing in best-of-breed surveillance cameras. While it is helpful to have a quality source of evidence, it’s not doing  the judge, jury or the case any justice if the courtroom is using a worn-out projectors or older display technologies.

Projecting the Problems

A common consequence of poor projection methods and monitor displays is lost pixel data and, therefore, image quality. Even if a courthouse invests in a higher-end projection system (the best are around $20,000), the forecasted image still passes through the courtroom’s lighting and will be somewhat affected by the various beams. And don’t forget that projection screens inevitably fall victim to discoloration, which also impacts the projected image.

And if you think installing display monitors will close the case, think again. Like most organizations, courthouses don’t have the funding to continuously invest in new or various-sized monitors, so screens that are dated or disproportionate to the video or image’s size will again diminish the pixel resolution and overall quality of the evidence. Undersized monitors also lead to alterations of an object’s size or shape and color changes, which means evidence will still somehow be lost.

So the takeaway is to ensure that any video and image evidence has a resolution that corresponds with the courtroom’s display methods, right? Meh. If a tree falls but no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Same type of issue. Presenting high-quality, multi-media evidence is only half the battle. After all, if the jurors can’t see the evidence in question, can it truly impact their decision?

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The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recommends the “3H” rule: viewers should be no more than three times the height of the picture away from the screen. Unfortunately, many jurors are seated much farther than this to truly witness the evidence on display and make an informed decision.

Ruling Out Evidence Obstructions

If you’re concerned about your courtroom’s technology infrastructure and overall blueprint, you have a few options. Consider surveying frequenting prosecutors, attorneys and even past jurors on their experiences with presenting and ingesting evidence. You should also do some homework on modern courtroom models, the strategies behind the designs and the effectiveness of each.

After conducting this internal audit and researching best practices, have a chat with your court’s trusted IT person and brainstorm budget-friendly ways to implement any necessary structural changes. After all, evidence serves as the retraced footsteps of a crime scene and communities rely on their court systems’ ability to walk justice from the crime scene to the courtroom.

We Want to Hear From You!

Do you think your courtroom needs a make-over? With an unlimited budget, what would you change about it?

Reply in the comments section below or on our Court Solutions showcase page. We read and respond – promise!

 

 

C is for CJIS

178_cookieAnd criminal justice. And compliance. Coincidence? Clearly not.

Okay, we’re done being clever. After all, criminal justice information services (CJIS) is no joke.

An Acronym I Should Know?

Do you interact with, manage, or otherwise handle criminal justice information (CJI)? Then “yes!’”

CJIS compliance was established and is currently enforced by the FBI. Compliance ensures that professionals handling CJI, including cloud vendors providing software as a service (SaaS), prosecutor’s offices, government agencies, and more, adhere to pre-established, best practices regarding information security when working remotely or on wireless networks, establishing data encryption tactics, developing authentication processes, and other workflow activities.

As you probably guessed, CJIS compliance audits are complex and uncompromising. This seems frustrating to criminal justice professionals trying to do their jobs, but it’s a necessary safeguard for protecting our nation’s justice system.

How Can I Get Started?

Step one: Take some time to read through and understand the FBI’s Security Policy Requirement Document, and accept that complying with the CJIS security policy is no easy gold star.

While we wish we could offer you a magic solution that brings organizations up to pace with every CJIS standard, we can’t. As of today, no one can. But, we can offer some insight into a few processes you’ll want to tighten up (or implement!) in your efforts to prepare for certification.

What Am I Looking At?

In a nutshell, your processes for managing and handling CJI.

From data storage and retrieval to accessibility, internal workflows and communication between law enforcement agencies, courts, prosecutors, etc., you should be able to answer where the information is (and quickly locate it), whose hands it has been in and how it’s been altered at any given time. AKA, an auditable trail.

Hand-in-hand with being able to trace your data’s history is ensuring and proving the integrity of the information entrusted to your care, which can be safeguarded by data encryption and multi-step authentication processes.

You’re Sure There’s Not an App For That?

Yup. But digitizing records, evidence, reports and other CJI material enables you to leverage digital portals that facilitate communication between all necessary parties. These portals, such as LEAP, walk you a few steps closer to meeting CJIS standards.

Implementing robust workflows do not fulfil CJIS compliance, but they do support your efforts in checking the boxes to uphold data integrity and secure confidence in your service to the public.

If you’re interested in CJIS compliance, we recommend partnering with a trusted software vendor who can assess your current processes and recommend solutions or “next steps” for optimizing information security.

Remember: partnering vendors are responsible for ensuring their solutions uphold the promised functionality, but you play a role in sustaining the leveraged technology and continuing to pursue best practices. To help you fulfil your part, ask your vendor to outline a matrix that details the implemented functionalities, and who is responsible for maintaining each aspect of the solution required to comply with the CJIS Security Policy.

We Want to Hear From You!

Are you CJIS compliant or in the process? What hurdles are you facing?

Respond in the “comments” section below or on our Court Solutions showcase page. We read and respond – promise!

State Statutes Got You Stressed? Go Paperless

By: Steve Glisky, Practice Manager, ImageSoft

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The criminal justice system holds prosecutors and law enforcement officers to unique statutory responsibilities which, when not honored, can lead to misconduct and disciplinary action. The effort required to ensure these protocols are respected at times take a backseat to the daily grind of pushing stacks of paper files through the justice system.

Jurisdictions that move from paper to electronic-based prosecution increase the speed and consistency of prosecuting cases.  A solution that expands throughput while systemizing compliance rules helps improve justice and community confidence.  As a blueprint feature of the Paperless Prosecutor Solution (PPS), statute compliancy has been built into the daily operations of prosecutors’ offices across the country.

You Ask, We Answer

As we walk through each of these compliancy features, think about your own processes and how you honor each of these responsibilities. Are you taking unnecessary time-consuming steps? Is your protocol safeguarding your cases as much as it should?

CJIS Security Policy

Passing a CJIS Security Audit goes beyond just getting your staff and partners finger printed and trained.  A key tenant to CJIS security requirements is that any data exchanged between law enforcement and prosecution must be encrypted end-to-end and while at rest.  Simply receiving sensitive information from law enforcement via a standard email is a sure way to fail an audit and incur penalties. The Paperless Prosecutor Solution is the Rx for CJIS audit anxiety because it uses an innovative and secure Law Enforcement Agency Portal (LEAP) for streamlining communication with the prosecutor’s office.  Paperless prosecution is a great way to audit proof your office while enjoying a peace of mind that critical information is safe and secure.

Discovery

It’s a violation of due process if the prosecution fails to disclose evidence throughout the life of a case.  In the paper world, it’s often difficult to track and prove when discoverable materials are sent.  Any missteps could result in a mistrial or a decision being overturned.

Paperless prosecution protects the office against these types of challenges by automating the discovery process, enabling the systematic redaction of documents at the time of intake, and providing a complete audit trail of when and to whom discoverable materials are sent. Updated discovery statuses and materials are always available anytime in the courtroom or office.

Victim Rights

The prosecutor must notify victims about many things, including their rights to participate in the case, receive plea agreement recommendations, and attend the sentencing hearing to express how the crime has affected their lives. As all prosecutors know, failure to honor these responsibilities undermines justice by not giving the victim a voice in the outcome of the case.

PPS ensures that justice is served by automatically alerting the Victim Rights Coordinator to send out notifications to the victim based upon pre-defined rules of the office.  This keeps the victim engaged throughout the case and helps uphold the public’s trust in their prosecutor and the entire justice system.

Subpoenas

Prosecutors must properly subpoena witnesses prior to court hearings.  If the witness fails to appear, it’s incumbent on the prosecutor to know the serve status of the subpoena.  If the witness was properly served but failed to appear, a bench warrant could be issued depending on the circumstance.  In a paper-based environment, it’s very difficult to locate accurate serve-status information at the time of the hearing.

This isn’t a problem, however, with PPS, which delivers real-time serve status updates from the LEAP portal to the Prosecutor’s electronic case file. Going a step further, this data-driven approach also equips the prosecutor with the number of attempts it took to serve the witness.

In-Custody Arrests

In-custody arrests are time sensitive for the Prosecutor.  Typically, prosecutors have only 48 hours to make a charging decision.  If the Prosecutor fails to issue charges within this timeframe, law enforcement must let potentially dangerous offenders go free.  Unfortunately, mistakes and delays do occur, and inadvertent releases happen more than they should.

PPS protects the public against this threat by color coding in-custody prosecution requests red with high priority.  If prosecution requests are not screened within three hours, an automatic alert is sent out to the assigned attorney and office administrator.  Additional escalation alerts are sent to the Chief Assistant Prosecutor and the Prosecutor if the request still hasn’t been screened within a pre-designated timeframe. The combination of real-time data exchange with law enforcement and built-in priority escalation and alerts gives the prosecutor the upper hand in keeping dangerous felons off the street.

Conflict-of-Interest Cases

When a conflict of interest exists, prosecutors are obligated to lock out certain users from viewing a case file. This occurs when an office employee is closely related to a party or has some special relationship to the case that may call into question the person’s objectivity and how the case would be handled.  PPS safeguards sensitive details from these individuals to ensure the consistency and integrity of the office.

Policy Administration

For large offices or state-wide deployments, PPS manages policy and procedure administration from end-to-end through Document Knowledge Transfer and Compliance (DKTC). DKTC ensures all employees have access to the most up-to-date versions of required materials and that deadlines for review and acknowledgement are enforced. Compliance testing is available to gauge employees’ comprehension of distributed content via scoring reports and test certificates.

What We’re Really Trying to Say

PPS is a valuable tool for keeping the Prosecutor’s office and Law Enforcement Agencies compliant with state rules. Creating a digital environment with PPS also improves prosecution efficiency, consistency, and transparency. Jurisdictions across the nation are investing in this innovation and, as a result, better serving and protecting their communities.

PPS Cloud, a new tool for reducing upfront costs and deploy times, will also soon be available. Please contact us if you’re interested in learning more about staying statute compliant with the Paperless Prosecution Solution.

 

A Content Writer Walks Into A Prosecutor’s Office…

By: Katie Pusz, Copywriter, ImageSoft

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To be more specific, it was me – a 5’1” content writer — walking into the St. Clair County Courthouse, and I’m pretty sure it was the door security who had a good laugh as I uncertainly put my belongings on the conveyor belt to be scanned. Clearly, nervous me was the least of their worries, which helped to put me more at ease. I guess being small and nerdy does have its perks.

Smiling Click to Click

Once I made it past that rigorous security checkpoint, I was now walking into the prosecutor’s office. St. Clair County Prosecutor Michael Wendling and his support team were kind enough to host me for a few hours and walk me through the every-day applications of ImageSoft’s Paperless Prosecutor Solution. Again, I was greeted with smiles and light-hearted humor from all, and immediately felt comfortable enough to be myself.

Before touring me through the office, Michael took some time to chat with me about his perspective on our paperless solution. In our short conversation, I was already taken aback by how much value he was describing just from a prosecutor’s perspective. Much of his emphasis was on the digital workflow, which housed expert opinions, case notes, and other crucial information directly on the file. Best yet, the prosecutor had all this information at his fingertips in real time. Not only was this huge for court prep and general work on the file, but it was crucial to having well-informed conversations with victims or any of their loved ones who might call on a whim. Not surprisingly, just having these few efficiencies enhanced communication among the entire office and boosted the overall morale. Suddenly, the many smiles that greeted me were making sense!

A Very Millennial Assumption

Before I dive any deeper into all that I learned from my visit, I have a confession to make. I am a millennial, and because technology has been an instrumental tool for much of my life, I automatically conceptualize processes in a way that leverages the digital world. So when I learned that many law firms, prosecutor’s offices, courts, and law enforcement agencies are still so paper-heavy, I was shocked! After all, it is 2018 (looking at you, paper lovers!).

One of the St. Clair County clerks recalled the times before they were paperless and actually employed an extra person just to assemble files. And I do mean assemble, complete with manila folders, hand-written labels, and a lot of paper. That’s all this person did – all day! That entire process is now done in a few minutes with even fewer clicks, and it’s not buried in filing cabinets or collecting dust under a desk, and the most up-to-date file can be quickly accessed by all authorized parties. One workflow fixed at least three glaring problems that plague almost every office – who would’ve thought!

Becoming aware of my own assumption that all things are digitized also made me think about the opposite side of the coin: there are many people who conceptualize processes, legal and every-day, as paper-heavy, pencil-in-hand activities. As someone from the across the pendulum, I’m not passing judgment. But I do hope that reading this blog will shed some light on a few efficiency problems you may not have even realized were problems, and open you up to the solutions that can help you.

Behind the Scenes: Warrant Processing

My first stop was the warrant processing department. At the beginning of every day, the clerk looks to her electronic workflow for any in-custody warrants (conveniently highlighted in red) because she knows those need her immediate attention. Within the workflow, the clerk can assign each warrant a case tracking number (CTN), assign the warrant to the appropriate authorizing attorney and push it into that attorney’s queue. From there, the authorizing attorney can electronically send the approved or denied warrant back to the prosecutor’s office. If the warrant is approved by the attorney, it’s placed in an electronic work folder alongside evidence, police reports, search warrants, fingerprints, and other related information. As the clerk explained, anyone with access to the workflow can key that CTN and see all case information and related charges or felonies, and even generate a witness list.

Sometimes, people want to re-open a case that hasn’t been touched in years. “In the paper days, we would have to start fresh because the original file would have been shredded to make room for new files,” said the clerk. “But today, that’s not a problem. We simply key a CTN search and up pops all the case’s information.”

While most of these processes are generally done in a few minutes, the clerk did mention the longest part of her day. “PDF printing into OnBase, which takes an entire 10 minutes.” For those who aren’t familiar with OnBase by Hyland, the core of the Paperless Prosecutor Solution, users can store content directly from any application into OnBase by using Window’s print function, whether it’s a report from a website or data from another system.

Behind the Scenes: Subpoenas

Down another hallway, I chatted with a different clerk who managed subpoenas. Fun fact: the entire office space where this clerk sits used to be dedicated solely to case storage. Imagine it: banker boxes and filing cabinets everywhere!

Once inside their case management system (CMS), the clerk keyed a swift shift + left click to pull a case file and could see all its related information and charges, including bench trial notes. Subpoenas that are ready to be issued are then electronically sent to the police cars that are nearest to the person being served. The officer can then print the subpoena straight from his or her squad car and potentially serve the person within minutes.

“Before we had this electronic workflow, we printed subpoenas and they sat in a pick-up box until an officer stopped by to grab it,” said the subpoena processing clerk. “Worse yet, if an officer had the subpoena but then went off shift or on vacation, the subpoena would just sit in the officer’s bag until he or she came back on duty. Often, the subpoena would get lost or forgotten about, and the person would never be served.”

Now, the subpoenas are immediately issued and typically get served right away. If they can’t be served straightaway, at least they stay top-of-mind in the officer’s queue. And with a full audit trail, the prosecutor can be confident in court when saying whether a subpoena has been served, when, and by whom.

Behind the Scenes: Discovery

When an officer has received evidence relating to a case, he or she is able to electronically upload it to a digital discovery portal where it is automatically shared with the prosecutor’s office. Police reports, lab results, photos and more are then included in an exhibit list and electronically sent over to the appropriate defense attorney.

If the clerks aren’t sure of the defense attorney on file, they can quickly key a search to find the P number on the case.

A Content Writer Walks Out of a Prosecutor’s Office

And wanders around, half-panicked that my nerdy self can’t remember where I parked my car.

Eventually I find it though, and enjoy the lake view in my rearview mirror as I drive off, knowing that The Paperless Prosecutor Solution has maximized this county’s case processing efficiency and strengthened the safety of this peaceful community. My only hope is that more prosecutor’s offices can better protect and serve their communities by sharing in the story of “I remember when…” instead of the daily, “we need more paper again!”

 

 

 

Through an Officer’s Eyes: How Going Paperless is Strengthening Law Enforcement

By: Katie Pusz, Copywriter, ImageSoft 

As the first eyes on a crime scene, law enforcement sees a case from the first-responder’s call all the way to a conviction. While officers understandably want to stay updated on the lifecycle of their cases, their intimacy and communication with the entire process is also critical to putting criminals behind bars and ensuring a successful prosecution.

Typically, prosecutors and law enforcement have no problem joining forces, but many do run into a problem communicating it. As explained by Bronx Law Guide, the prosecution process takes about one year from the time a suspect is arrested until they go to trial. That may not seem like a long while, but when rape or homicide is the situation at hand, time is everything.

Where is time being lost?

158_policetechIn-between the lines… literally. After evaluating an incident, an officer now must prepare a report. Sometimes they are handwritten, or sometimes they are typed and printed, but reports have historically always been on paper. Either way, the document then needs to be physically transported to the prosecuting attorney’s (PA) office. Once the PA makes his or her decision, the paper report has to make its way back to the officers, who then have to disseminate that information to everyone on the case. Because there is often significant mileage between the main office, sub-stations, and officers on the field, this creates a notable time delay and poses a threat to the overall integrity of the case.

The Solution?

An entirely paperless process. One of the most sought-after features of The Paperless Prosecutor Solution is TrueFiling’s LEAP (law enforcement agency portal). Through its secure channel, LEAP rapidly transmits critical information between law enforcement and the prosecutor. From securing warrants and subpoena management to evidence submittal and updating a case’s status, LEAP electronically communicates all pertinent information within minutes, even from a PA’s office in one corner of a county to an officer on the field.

Producing Possibility Post-Paper

Being alleviated from paper-heavy files and not relying on good traffic conditions to make progress on a case are only two of the many benefits of The Paperless Prosecutor Solution. Electronic communication opens the door to several other means for a seamless, real-time trade of information between officers, prosecutors, and sheriffs.

  1. Instant Gratification from Instant Communication 

    As mentioned earlier, The Paperless Prosecutor Solution was designed to address the lag in communication between law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts. But not only will Law Enforcement be able to facilitate faster processes, they will also receive automatic notifications on any informational updates, including the prosecutor’s notes, real-time case status updates, dispositions, evidence management, and more. Charging documents will also be sent, received, and accessed electronically. Eliminating the need for a runner, these digitized changes also liberate officers from their desks while still allowing them to check a case or communicate documents.

  2. You’ll be Smitten with Submittin’ 

    Digitizing communication lessens the risk of human error by standardizing the submittal process. The electronic forms require all necessary data is collected, and ensures every submission adheres to the same procedure. Its highly-configurable integrative powers make The Paperless Prosecutor Solution an option for any current RMS and, as a result, any office. And if you’re not at the office? No problem! So long as you have secure internet connection, you can access exactly what you need, whenever you need it.

  3. The Audit You’ll Actually Want 

    No, the IRS isn’t coming for you. With a full audit trail for all documents, file owners are able to see who accessed or edited a document and when, which ensures accountability for sensitive documents like subpoenas. Police departments will no longer have to manually maintain a log sheet of their communications, as documents will automatically log two-way communications.

  4. Automating Your Autograph 

    Even more in demand than Brad Pitt’s signature, law enforcement needs to securely and efficiently lend their autograph daily. With TrueSign, officers and sheriffs can electronically and remotely sign charging documents, search warrants, and more.

What Are You Waiting For? LEAP to it!

With the ability to quickly push cases along and put criminals behind bars sooner rather than later, The Paperless Prosecutor Solution is a revolutionary tool for law enforcement and, most importantly, the entire criminal justice system.

 

What part of The Paperless Prosecutor Solution will be of greatest benefit to your team?

Feel like you need more FTEs? Maybe you need PPS!

This blog post was written by a previous PA office manager, who chooses to remain anonymous.

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As an office manager for a county’s Prosecuting Attorney’s (PA) Office, I was thrilled to have made the switch from paper files to using The Paperless Prosecutor Solution (PPS).

As law offices, law enforcement agencies, and courts increasingly make the switch to paperless processes, I wanted to share my experience in hopes that it may help you as you begin to think of making the switch to electronic files.  Changing software and well-established processes can be a headache if you aren’t prepared, but staying with your current, paper-heavy processes is much, much worse.  If you are thinking of switching to a new software for your PA office, but are too afraid to commit, please read on! My goal is to share a bit about the impact the Paperless Prosecutor Solution made to my office, and my confidence in knowing it will do the same for yours.

More Cases, Less Staff?  Could it Be True?

The first step in trying to figure out what kind of software you may need is making a strong effort to honestly identify the problems your office faces.  I can guarantee almost every county employee in every country would say “we don’t have enough people!” And I believe you.  When you’re preparing for a new software, it’s important to think about how a lack of staff could affect that, and where you could legitimately find some savings.  Software won’t replace the people you do have, but it will help all of them become much more efficient at the tasks they are performing.  After our own implementation, we were able to identify some key areas where the new software was making an immediate impact, which included: immediate availability of files, faster/simpler creation of charging documents and automatic docket preparation.

While these were all apparent right off the bat, the most obvious perk was cutting down the time we were spending searching for files.  We were a paper office, and everywhere I looked there used to be stacks of files.  Attorneys had their own individual filing systems in each of their offices, the secretaries had files on their desks and our victim rights advocates even had their own paper build-up. On top of that, we had in-office file storage for cases within the last three years, long-term file storage upstairs and downstairs, and no good way to track what was where. We used a cart to bring files to and from the courtroom, and the afternoon before a large docket always looked like that old gameshow where the contestants ran around the grocery store frantically looking for specific items.

When we stepped back and looked at how long the office spent on average just looking for files, we estimated it at two to three hours PER DAY, plus another four to six hours per week ordering and prepping the files for the docket. We began to imagine how much more we could do with that time.  It was clear to us that ImageSoft’s Paperless Prosecutor Solution would be able to solve all these problems and turn that wasted time into meaningful working time.

Implementation and Chocolate: Both Worth-While Investments

So away we went into implementation.  I was all in.  My PA was all in. We saw the long-term value and knew what a difference this would make. My chief? The attorneys?  The secretaries?  Well, they weren’t there quite yet. I’ll be honest, learning a new software and training all of your staff on it is not a cake walk.  Many of the staff in my office had been doing things “the way we’ve always done it” for 10, 15, 20 or even 30 years.  They were less than enthused about learning a new software, and truly convinced they just needed more people to help them.

If I can give you one piece of advice as you start your software journey, it is this: as soon as you can, try to get away from the “I can’t learn a new software, I have to do my ‘real job’” mentality.  Having well-trained staff who had a voice in the process and could help their co-workers during the rollout was invaluable.  Yes, there were many long days.  Yes, it took patience and lots of chocolate. And yes, it was worth it.

Then and Now: Who Would’ve Guessed?

We implemented the solution together and, looking back, the results have been more impactful than I ever really expected in the beginning.  Everyone in our office can access files at the same time and with only a few mouse clicks, which is so much better than the hours of stress and drama we used to endure every week.  Charges are filed on time every day and, best yet, the secretaries don’t have to read the attorney’s awful scribbles and try to figure out what counts, charges and enhancements they are looking for.  And get this: attorneys enter their court notes while they are in court! If you work in a legal office, you know this saves the secretaries literal hours every day from re-typing handwritten attorney notes into the case management system. Today, the secretaries use their new-found time to get ahead on their other work, which makes them, the attorneys, and clients much happier!

Discovery is now sent electronically, so no more wasted time frantically fighting the copy machine and then running over to the post-office to postmark discovery when the county mail had already been picked up for the day (yes, we did this, at least once per week).

Looking back at the years before we had the Paperless Prosecutor Solution, and looking at the office today, many things have changed. The staff count is not one them. It turns out, adding more people wasn’t the solution after all. It was always about creating efficiencies and leveraging smart technology to help us best serve our community. And, having worked in a paper-reliant office before, I wouldn’t do it any other way now.

What Prosecutors Want and Need

By: Kevin Ledgister, Marketing Manager, ImageSoft

152_bankersboxesA day in the life of prosecuting attorneys is defined by the materials in their case files (often stored in banker’s boxes)…evidence, testimony and research. The piles of paperwork grow exponentially, with police reports, photos, victim and witness statements, discovery and investigation reports, and so on. Moving from arraignment, bail hearings, and motion hearings to trials – each step multiplies the size of the file. As prosecutors research precedent and review statutes, and coordinate with other attorneys, the court, police and other professionals – the pile grows.

No wonder some prosecuting attorneys arrive at the courthouse with banker’s boxes filled with paper.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Technology is simplifying the way prosecuting attorneys deal with case files, by automating them and including functions to scan and store all types of documents, photos and video and audio files.

Prosecutors looking for ways to eliminate paper files should look for best-in-class solutions with these features.

Comprehensive electronic case file and workflow solution

Any solution designed for prosecuting attorneys should aid communication, manage discovery and related materials and be accessible via any smart device. The best solutions mirror how stakeholders interact with paper files by automating tasks such as searching cases by metadata, color-coding case files, and creating reporting dashboards that provide transparency and easy access. Such solutions should simplify the predictable, repeated steps following routing rules and process steps.

Above all else, they must integrate with any good functioning case management system already in place.

Web-based eFiling

Web-based eFiling for law enforcement reduces paper handling and travel time to locate and obtain documents. These functions should integrate with the prosecutor’s case management and enterprise content management systems to create a paperless process.

Communication/integration with law enforcement

Prosecutors need a solution that manages the communication and interaction between law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office. Importantly, it should incorporate an electronic warrant request submission process. It should include such features as automated evidence submittal and subpoena management. To be fully functional, it should be integrated with law enforcement’s own records management system and include:

  • Automated workflow to efficiently review and screen prosecution requests.
  • Electronic discovery and digital management of all discovery materials.
  • Easy and intuitive document capture features, including electronic document management, filing, and scanning.
  • Automatic indexing of court notices, dispositions, electronic citations and any other documents from law enforcement to the electronic case file with no need for manual intervention.
  • Electronic subpoena management
  • Docket management so electronic case files are synced with the court docket.

Electronic discovery

A fully integrated and automatic discovery solution is necessary. It should streamline the receipt of initiating attorney appearance documents. A best-practices solution then would select discoverable documents, including photos, and audio and video files, and send them to the attorney of record with an automated discovery email function.

Electronic subpoenas

An electronic subpoena process should begin once a court notice has been received. As witnesses are selected, it should automatically generate personal subpoenas and send them to law enforcement. It then should automatically create a subpoena status report to track the service of subpoenas that attorneys can check while in court. As law enforcement enters the serve status in the system, the solution should update the electronic case file.

Docket management

Prosecuting attorneys need an automated docket management process to assign and manage cases according to the court’s docket calendar. Rather than having to pull physical case files, prosecutors should be able to access the court’s dockets and electronically sync their case files via a simple key sequence. Whether automatically assigned based on pre-configured rules or manually assigned, court events should be managed by prosecutors using a docket management queue. The solution should include the routing of case files in real time from the courtroom to support staff at the end of a hearing.

Electronic signature tools

Electronic signature tools speed up justice, using tablets to sign complaints or petitions, rather than paper documents. They are a must-have on the list of potential solution features.

Built-in alerts

Time-sensitive activities require staff accountability; built-in alerts and notifications streamline processes and help staff meet deadlines.

Redaction processes

Electronically controlling confidential information and redacting sensitive information serve to protect victims. Make sure the cause of victim’s rights and redaction process are fully integrated into the workflow.

How to Retire the Banker’s Boxes

Prosecutors can and should shed the burden of banker’s boxes filled with paper by selecting a technology solution the incorporates an electronic casefile and workflow solution.

Need more information about solutions for prosecutors? Contact ImageSoft today.