Prosecutions Using Digital Evidence: A Starting Point

Forensic Science International: Synergy


Digital evidence is essential to criminal investigations and prosecutions, but its use is fraught with challenges: rapid changes in technology, the need to communicate those changes to stakeholders, and a sociopolitical landscape that leaves little room for error, particularly regarding electronic data privacy. In the criminal justice system, these challenges can affect the admissibility of evidence and its proper introduction at trial, as well as how cases are charged and resolved. A survey of 50 United States (U.S.)-based prosecutors, contextualized by data from a second survey of 51 U.S.-based investigators, explores these issues for the present and future, finding that crucial factors include training, prosecutors who specialize in digital evidence issues, and strong relationships between prosecutors and investigators.