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Evidence Disclosure: Proven Ways Of Staying Compliant

Awareness blog discussing legal regulations a prosecutor is subjected to during evidence disclosure, and how digital solutions can help this process.
by Ali Ahmed Siddiqui Updated on December 20, 2023

Evidence disclosure is an incredibly sensitive aspect of any legal proceedings. The authenticity and usability of evidence depend on how exactly it was handled, stored, and secured before its admission to the court.

In order to evaluate ways of avoiding messing up the process, one needs to understand the exact parameters of evidence security and validity and the circumstances where the legal system would oust evidence.

There is also a need to understand the significance of full disclosure of relevant evidence, no matter its size or nature (Digital or Physical).

The Disclosure Process: An Overview

The disclosure process in U.S. legislation  is defined as:

“The element of the litigation process where each party in the suit is required to disclose any documents that may be considered relevant to the case going to court.

According to the Supreme Court, disclosure is a legal necessity when the prosecutor or prosecution team has evidence that is crucial to determining guilt, innocence, or punishment. Therefore, disclosure is a legal necessity and a declaration process required by law.

Stiff Legal Regulations Surrounding Disclosure of Evidence By Prosecutor

Courts in the U.S. pay a great deal of attention to the validity of evidence submitted. This means that evidence submitted which is not in line with the legal regulations of admission will be inadmissible and ruled out.

The evidence submitted must have a chain of custody. This is a record that reveals who got the evidence, where and when it was obtained, who secured the evidence, and who had control over or ownership of the evidence. 

  • Significance of Chain of Custody

An unbroken chain of custody means evidence has no history of being tampered with and is in its original state.  The penalty of having evidence with a high probability of tampering, no matter the circumstances, is simple: Evidence dismissal.

  • Complete Disclosure

Another crucial aspect of the legal handling of data is what the state of Texas considers disclosure as a rule and not an exceptionThis means that appropriate disclosure of any and every bit of evidence is important since it has the potential to alter the course of a legal proceeding.

What It Means for Prosecution Teams 

Evidence Table - Copy

Prosecution teams will have to incorporate processes in their workflow to ensure the validity and seamless disclosure of their evidence. Evidence with high validity will be a foundation for a good prosecution argument and a strong narrative.

Double Obligations on the Prosecutor

With the chances of messing up your evidence disclosure not negligible, prosecution teams need to disclose a valid and comprehensive amount of information. This also means that while not only preserving evidence is important, ensuring that every small ounce of it relevant to the case is disclosed adds another layer of complexity. Furthermore, irrelevant bits and pieces of evidence need to be sidelined as well.

This means that prosecution teams will have to sit through and view each portion of the evidence. This is a prolonged task needing high numbers of working hours and is also prone to errors. This may involve the prosecution team evaluating hours’ worth of CCTV footage to get that 5-second clip relevant to the case.

Why Sharing Everything isn't The Answer

Prosecution teams must also ensure that personal data within the evidence having no connections with the case is redacted. Redacted evidence files might seem an easy thing to generate. However, the prosecution team may well watch each second of video data to remove any personally identifiable information (PII). Information relevant to the case is also a factor to keep in mind before sharing evidence material according to the law.

What Digital Evidence Management Systems Have to Offer

Evidence-based management solution, or to simply put it, software that has great potential in solving a lot of the issues mentioned. The potential of using an AI-based solution to automate tasks as manual as the ones mentioned above is exponentially high.

Evidence management systems deliver an end-to-end secure solution that ensures maintaining a chain of custody of the evidence included.

Quick Search Powered by AI

Modern AI search-enabled options in the market offer great value with their ability to search through hours of footage to find parts relevant to the case. The search feature allows the prosecution to save time by automating the tasks associated with going through piles of data to search for relevant evidence pieces.

Audit and Encryption

These solutions have built-in audit logs to keep track of evidence access. They also offer access controls to enable evidence sharing with only members of the prosecution team. The ability to generate Hash value for evidence inspection allows evidence tampering to be virtually impossible to go unnoticed. Encryption of digital evidence gives it a strong chance of admissibility and adds credibility to the mix.

Audit Log

What to Show and What to Hide

These solutions offer automated redaction of PII (Personally Identifiable Information) in videos, audio recordings and images, saving several hours of work for the prosecution team. Some redaction tools only offer Document redaction solutions.

Other more high-end ones offer video, audio recordings, images and document redaction tools all powered by AI to boost process efficiency.

Digital solutions and their impressive layout allow for dealing with and managing evidence easily. They can store evidence in digital form, which makes it more search-friendly, allowing great levels of productivity with the data stored.

Beyond the Clutter: VIDIZMO

While there may be multiple solutions available to prosecutors, VIDIZMO’S DEMS (Digital Evidence Management Solution) allows a great mix of what the technology has to offer with the perfect integration with the workflow of a prosecution team. Some crucial aspects to consider are:

  • VIDIZMO is fully compliant with various legal compliances such as HIPAA, FOIA, and CJIS on privacy and IIP security via its AI-powered, Redaction tools. The AI-based search functionality allows you to review tons of evidence data to find the relevant parts with just a few clicks. 

  • VIDIZMO’S encryption ensures evidence security and protection with FIPS-compliant AES-256 encryption at rest and in transit and optional DRM support.

  • Tamper Detection via Hash values offers great integrity of evidence. This makes it possible to track any tampering with evidence data. Its audit logs allow the evidence great levels of validity since all access to the evidence is recorded.

  • You can choose to deploy your films on-site with VIDIZMO, or you can choose your cloud service provider and data center location. You can employ compliant, strong at-rest data encryption and outstanding security provided by Azure and AWS.

  • The system enables recipients to add comments or timed annotations to specific sections of a video file after sharing evidence files. These features make it simpler for numerous police, investigators, or other agencies to interact with one another securely.

Evidence disclosure can be a time-consuming and complex task for any prosecution team. However, smart investments in modern digital solutions can ease this process. Integrating such solutions in your workflow may just be what your evidence handling and management requires in this digital age. This is a proven and dependable way of not messing up your evidence disclosure process.


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Posted by Ali Ahmed Siddiqui

Ali Ahmed is a Product Marketing Strategist at VIDIZMO. He is actively involved in Product Research. He is passionate about how tech is changing the business world. For Queries, you can email at websales@vidizmo.com

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