When it comes to sharing digital evidence with Defense, you have to disclose it to Defense. The nature of disclosure of digital evidence varies from state to state based on the state's particular laws and legal system.
Sharing digital evidence with defense attorneys is a part of a fairer trial. In contrast, under the Brady rule, prosecutors must share the relevant details of the prosecution and exculpatory evidence with defense attorneys. Withholding evidence from the Defense under the Brady rule, the evidence will be suppressed whether the prosecutor withheld the evidence from the Defense intentionally or unintentionally.
Sharing Digital Evidence with Defense
When a case goes to trial, it's the prosecutor's responsibility to provide the defendant with all the evidence which is going to be used during a trial. Sharing evidence with the Defense can prevent any surprises at trial, and sometimes it could be helpful for both sides to resolve the case out of the court instead of going through a full trial.
There are various ways through which you can share your digital evidence with your defense attorney. Still, it is hard to share evidence in a secure and compliant environment where you can keep track of your digital evidence.
What Evidence Should Be Shared With Defense?
The prosecutor is required to provide evidence that may help the case. Prosecutors are under no obligation to share their theory of the case, known as Attorney Work Product.
The prosecutor is responsible for disclosing all evidence to the Defense because it is part of the prosecutor's job to assemble and present the facts of their case in court. Prosecutors must also provide exculpatory evidence to the Defense, which could hurt their case. If they do not do this, they may face sanctions by the court.
The prosecutor's job is to show that any defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If they have enough evidence against them, they have to ensure they can show this to the court without prejudice or bias.
Consequences Of Withholding Evidence From Defense
In various cases, prosecutors are engaged in the unethical practice of law by, which is usually exculpatory evidence. The Defense should know what evidence exists against them so that they can rebut it if necessary and disclose anything exculpatory if they know about it. Withholding evidence from Defense is unethical and against the law. In such cases, the prosecutor could be disbarred from the practice of law, which happened with many prosecutors; one of them was Deputy District Attorney Troy A. Benson of Santa Clara County. He allegedly withheld the videotape favorable to the defendant Augustine Uribe and attempted to cover it up.
There is one more case where Prosecutor Richard E. Jackson surrendered his law license and was disbarred from law practice when Stanley Mozee and Dennis Allen were proven innocent after spending 15 years behind bars for a crime they didn't commit. Throughout the trial, the evidence was in the prosecutor's file the whole time.
Method of sharing Digital Evidence with Defense
Law enforcement officers must preserve digital evidence during investigations to be used in court proceedings if necessary.
This includes CCTV footage, videotapes, call transcription, testimony, audio recordings, and all the digital evidence related to the case. In addition to these responsibilities, law enforcement officers must ensure that all relevant digital evidence is preserved before it is destroyed so it will be available for future use in court proceedings if needed.
There are a few old ways of sharing digital evidence where you can share digital evidence with Defense through hard drives, emails, and CDs. Your evidence is highly confidential and must be securely shared with Defense and other law enforcement personnel without tampering.
VIDIZMO: A Centralized Software For Evidence Management And Sharing
VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System is a complete evidence management solution that provides the full set of options necessary for sharing critical and confidential evidence files with specified law enforcement personnel. A prosecutor needs to share all the digital evidence with the Defense, keeping in mind the security and confidentiality of the evidence. They should provide ease of access to the evidence to the Defense so that Defense can view it any time they want. VIDIZMO helps in:
- Ingesting digital evidence from multiple sources.
- Storing it on the cloud (government or commercial), as SaaS or in a data center of your choice.
- Keeping the evidence secure, both at rest and in transit, using AES-256 encryption and DRM
- Preventing any form of tampering within the evidence.
- Integration with your existing systems, including RMS, CMS or other
- Ability to create separate portals for the public, prosecutors, Defense, internal affairs and others
- Integration of AI-based automatic redaction through on-demand face detection, automatic transcription and translation, speech-to-text conversion and other features
- Provides proper maintenance of a Chain of Custody for each evidence file
- Assign case folders to the respective defense attorney for limited access and other features
- Place annotations in evidence, add comments to files, place metadata tags and further details
- Provides tools to keep you compliant with frameworks such as GDPR, CJIS, CRoC, FedRAMP, HIPAA, and others