Justice must be served!
Serving justice is the most important goal of criminal justice systems across the world.
In the United States, Criminal Justice System is responsible for enforcing laws, maintaining law and order, ensuring public safety, and delivering justice to all.
The information technology landscape has experienced major shifts in the past two decades, making the collection and analysis of digital evidence an increasingly important tool for solving crimes and preparing court cases. Not only that but with the advent of digital evidence, there is a significant impact on the overall functionality and structure of the U.S. Criminal Justice System.
In addition to that, according to the U.S Government:
"The crime rate in the U.S is approximately 47.70 per 100,000 people".
The high rate of crimes and the volume of digital evidence creates a challenging environment for the U.S Criminal Justice System to successfully solve crimes by analyzing massive volumes of digital evidence within a limited time span.
This article will explain digital evidence and the U.S. criminal justice system and how DEMS helps the U.S. CJS to become more efficient in criminal case proceedings and serving justice.
The Fundamentals of the U.S Criminal Justice System: What You Need to Know
The criminal justice system in the United States is responsible for enforcing laws, maintaining public safety, and delivering justice to those who have broken the law. It plays a crucial role in ensuring that our communities are safe and secure and that those who violate the law are held accountable for their actions.
The U.S. criminal justice system has become increasingly complex and structured to deal with rising crime rates, urbanization, and population growth. The system has evolved to include law enforcement agencies and courts at local, state, and federal levels that work together to prevent crimes, protect the public, make arrests, and ensure fair trials.
Today, the structure of the criminal justice system consists of various independent departments and agencies, such as the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Justice, which works independently and collaborates as well to achieve these goals.
By doing so, the system aims to provide a sense of security and safety to the public and uphold justice by proving guilt or innocence in a fair and impartial manner.
The U.S Criminal Justice System consists of 3 main components.
Let's discuss them one by one for a more in-depth understanding!
Components of the U.S Criminal Justice System
The criminal justice system in the United States is comprised of three major components. These components include law enforcement agencies responsible for enforcing laws and investigating crimes, courts that include prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and juries who oversee the legal process, and corrections systems that are responsible for managing convicted criminals and rehabilitating them for eventual release back into society.
The first pillar of the U.S. criminal justice system is law enforcement. The primary role of law enforcement officers is to:
Identify the suspects
Gather evidence against them
Submit the reports to the prosecutors for further investigation
There are three main levels of law enforcement in the United States: federal, state, and local. Each level operates independently within its own jurisdiction and is responsible for maintaining public safety and enforcing the law.
The Federal Government in the United States is responsible for overseeing federal law enforcement, which includes two main departments: the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Within these departments, there are several law enforcement agencies that operate at the federal level, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) etc.
These agencies are responsible for investigating and enforcing federal laws and also work closely with state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure a coordinated response to crime and maintain public safety.
State law enforcement agencies operate at the state level and enforce state laws. Most states have their own law enforcement initiatives that operate through agencies and departments, which are typically centralized under a few government entities.
The state's Department of Public Safety is responsible for providing services and carrying out the duties of state police and highway patrol. Additionally, each state has an Office of the Attorney General, which handles criminal and civil investigations and serves as the state-level equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
While local law enforcement agencies operate at the county or municipal level and enforce local laws. It includes all local police departments headed by the Police Commissioner or Chief of Police.
Within the United States criminal justice system, there are both local and federal courts that handle cases. Once charges are filed against a suspect, prosecutors are responsible for presenting the evidence gathered, including digital evidence, to a court of law after a thorough analysis of available digital evidence files.
The suspect must then be brought before a judge without delay, and the court will determine their innocence or guilt based on the evidence presented.
Judges oversee court proceedings, including trials, and may accept or reject plea agreements. They are responsible for ensuring that the legal process is followed properly and that justice is served fairly.
The final component of the United States criminal justice system is corrections, which handles the sentencing and punishment of convicted individuals. After a person has been found guilty, either by a judge or jury, the sentencing phase begins.
During this phase, the judge determines an appropriate punishment for the convicted person, which may include time in prison, fines, or community service.
In some cases, the jury may be responsible for determining the punishment. The goal of the corrections system is to ensure that individuals who have committed crimes are held accountable for their actions while also providing opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
Digital Evidence - The Biggest Challenge For the U.S Criminal Justice System
The use of digital devices such as CCTV cameras, vehicle dashcams, and body-worn cameras is ubiquitous. These devices often contain crucial information related to crimes, including conversations, video evidence, and audio recordings.
Law enforcement officers, including police officers and other investigators, use body-worn cameras, dashcams, and other digital devices to facilitate the entire process of evidence collection.
According to a report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics:
Source: Bureau of Justice statistics
Throughout the various phases of legal proceedings under the U.S. criminal justice system, digital evidence plays a crucial role in the investigation and resolution of cases.
The considerable amount of digital evidence in various forms, its collection, handling and sharing presents significant challenges for law enforcement officers, prosecutors and defense attorneys.
One of these challenges includes the collection of digital evidence from various sources.
Then comes the secure storage of digital evidence and its disclosure with prosecutors and defense attorneys after collection.
The most important challenge is to keep all case-relevant data secure and to maintain a chain of custody records for each evidence file.
Contrary to that, it will be challenged on the grounds of being tampered with, resulting in its inadmissibility in court.
For Prosecutors, there are piles of evidence files to review. Extracting useful insights from long hours of digital evidence files is not a piece of cake.
At every level, officers face difficulties in solving criminal cases.
How to enhance the potential of the criminal justice system to become more competent and effective?
What is the solution to overcome all these challenges?
VIDIZMO’s Digital Evidence Management System is the solution!
VIDIZMO provides an effortless way to tackle digital evidence-related challenges and provides a secure platform.
How VIDIZMO Helps CJS To Become More Efficient?
VIDIZMO’s Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) helps the criminal justice system to become more efficient by addressing the challenges associated with the handling and sharing of digital evidence.
VIDIZMO provides a secure platform for law enforcement agencies to upload, store, manage, and share digital evidence with other authorized stakeholders, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and juries.
With features such as FIPS-compliant AES-256 end-to-end encryption, Role Based Access Control, and the ability to integrate with existing IT applications and SSO identity providers, VIDIZMO DEMS ensures the security and privacy of digital evidence.
Additionally, the ability to restrict access to specific regional IP addresses and deployment in different cloud or hybrid infrastructures provides flexibility and customization according to organizational requirements.
VIDIZMO DEMS also helps agencies to maintain the chain of custody reports, ensuring that the evidence's integrity is not compromised. The system provides a tamper detection mechanism through SHA cryptographic values, allowing agencies to detect any unauthorized access or modifications.
VIDIZMO DEMS helps agencies to transcribe and translate digital files in more than 39 languages, including transcription of 4 different languages simultaneously in one video.
In conclusion, the U.S. criminal justice system comprises three main components, including law enforcement, courts, and corrections, which work together to enforce laws, ensure public safety, and deliver justice. However, the digitalization of evidence has presented significant challenges in the process of serving justice.
VIDIZMO, with its Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS), provides advanced features such as FIPS-compliant encryption, role-based access control, evidence redaction, and multilingual transcription, which facilitate law enforcement agencies and other criminal justice departments in securing, managing, and sharing digital evidence effectively. By implementing VIDIZMO DEMS, the U.S. criminal justice system can become more efficient, transparent, and reliable in resolving cases and serving justice.Or the better way is to contact us for more details!