As with any profession, technology plays a large part in shaping how the job is done. Criminal defense attorneys are increasingly using technology to better serve their clients, expedite processes and even prove innocence. Technology is changing how attorneys interact in the courtroom and how they prepare for cases outside of it. As technology continues to advance, criminal defense attorneys will find creative and innovative ways to include it in their work.
The success of a case can hinge on the actual delivery of facts. If there is any way to captivate a jury, it is to make things as visual from them as possible, especially with complex (and often dull) information. Luckily with the help of technology, this has become much easier. Programs like TrialPad (an iPad app) are helping lawyers present information in a clear way that is also interactive.
Wearables (like an Apple Watch or a Fitbit) are being used for a completely different purpose – frequently as evidence. More and more, wearables are being used as proof of where an accused was and what he or she was doing at the time of the alleged crime. Conversely, they have been used to discredit damaging allegations. An example of this can be found from an allegation made earlier this year. A woman in Pennsylvania claimed she had fallen asleep around midnight and that, shortly thereafter, an attacker entered her home and raped her. Her Fitbit data, however, was used to prove that, in fact, she was not sleeping at all.
The use of PDFs, photographs, and audio files are all being used by attorneys at an increasing rate. Technology has made it possible for defense attorneys to access this information quickly and on the go. All of these items can be opened and inspected on smartphones, especially when time is of the essence. It’s necessary to have digital files at your fingertips.
With the use of digital documents, lawyers not only need a place to store them securely but also to receive them. There are times when files need to be shared that are either too large by themselves or the sheer amount is more than email can handle. Dropbox is an excellent solution to both problems. Clients can upload information to a shared Dropbox with their attorneys or vice versa. In any situation, all parties have access to the materials they need in a secure location.
As technology becomes more sophisticated, so will its role within the criminal justice system. Technology will inevitably be used as evidence and also utilized to enhance an attorney’s presentation within the courtroom. It will be interesting to see how technology continues to shape the criminal justice system in the future.