The concept of “court” is familiar among the general public and elicits imagery instantly associated with the system—the judge’s black robe, the wooden gavel, the bench towering over the courtroom, the tense and stuffy atmosphere, the statue of Lady Justice adorned in Classical attire while holding a sword and scales. Technology does not come to mind when one thinks of the courts, and a person would be forgiven for thinking the judicial branch is behind the times. This could not be further from the truth.
Global law firms have invested heavily in technology to aid with their business—from traditional courtroom matters to aiding and advising clients on routine affairs in order to keep them in line with the law. Even smaller legal practices have also eagerly embraced technology. While it has retained many of its traditions, the court system has implemented technology, such as allowing e-filing and accessing electronic records. One company, however, is seeking to revolutionize the 21st century court.
Beginning in 2021, a software system called Digital Evidence Center by business information service provider Thomson Reuters will be implemented in the first US jurisdiction. This groundbreaking system could potentially reshape the court process across the United States.
Rising from the Ashes
In the heart of the American Southwest, Arizona has been among the fastest growing states since the latter half of the 20th century. Its capital, Phoenix, and the sprawling suburbs of the greater metropolitan area collectively known as the Valley of the Sun have undeniably received the lion’s share of the state’s tremendous growth.
Parts of the state have already had growing pains trying to keep up with a swelling population, such as providing transportation, education, and municipal services. In 2020, as with almost everywhere the COVID-19 pandemic hampered much progress and did significant damage to many sectors, the courts included. However, out of the crisis arose an opportunity.
To not only keep the judicial system moving while also mitigating the virus, Arizona became the country’s test market for the Digital Evidence Center, launching the program in three superior courts in the counties of Maricopa, Pima, and Mohave, home counties to Phoenix, Tucson, and Kingman, respectively.
Although in the short-term the program helps to prevent the further spread of the virus, it could also prove to help move cases along and expedite the state’s judicial process. What is noteworthy, however, is that Arizona plans to further expand the program across the state and to lower court levels if it proves to be a success.
A New Court Process
Thomson Reuters’ system has been in place in several other countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada. Stateside, Arizona may be the first in this new system, but other American courts are certain to take notice. Most importantly, these technological overhauls of the system will take time to perfect and refine, and the process will need to mature as people adjust.
In essence, this system allows parties more ease with evidence on the Digital Evidence Center cloud, including uploading, sharing, presenting, and accessing it along with exhibits. Furthermore, judges can include private notes using this new system and case backlogs can clear out faster, as the cloud expedites the process with up to 50 percent fewer hearings required for a case.
The COVID-19 pandemic will eventually wane, but it is important to note that even prior to the initial outbreak in the United States, many court systems were notoriously backlogged. Delays under the pandemic will only further back up already clogged courts at various levels, including the Southern District of New York and the courts of Los Angeles County. Should the Digital Evidence Center prove a success, it is possible—and likely—that other court systems will adopt such a system to alleviate caseloads.
As the court system becomes more high tech, additional security measures for digital assets are becoming more crucial. SecureData has a comprehensive security solution to help safeguard confidential and important files prior to e-filing, including devices with hardware encryption and multi-factor user authentication.
Our keypad (KP) drives, SecureDrive® KP and SecureUSB® KP, feature an on-board, alphanumeric keypad, requiring a PIN to unlock. Our Bluetooth (BT) drives, SecureDrive® BT and SecureUSB® BT, require an app on a mobile device with the user within close proximity of the drive to unlock.
As an added security measure, both BT drives can be enhanced with a separate Remote Management license that allows Admin to set additional restrictions, including when and where the devices can be used.
To reach a SecureData team member to put your security solution together today, call one of our experts at 1-800-875-3230.