The amount of evidence presented in Court cases can be staggering. It’s not uncommon to see several hundred exhibits for a single case, particularly in more extensive and complex criminal cases. As such, one can imagine the headache accompanying the management of all those exhibits throughout the process. Vault is a Digital Exhibit Management system that keeps all multimedia files in a centralized, secure location. Let’s look at five of the many advantages of Vault for all Court personnel.
Vault is exponentially more secure than filing cabinets and storage lockers.
For those Court entities still relying on legacy systems for exhibit management, there’s likely an entire room and several dozen filing cabinets dedicated to evidence storage. While this method has worked historically, it’s now abundantly clear that storing exhibits physically is a significant security risk. The chain of custody is critical in all trials, and all it takes is a single instance of mishandling evidence in a storage locker for that exhibit to be inadmissible in Court. A cloud-based Digital Exhibit Management tool like Vault is the better alternative when storing digital or multimedia evidence. Files are held securely and never leave the platform once uploaded – even when people access the files, they are able to view but not move the data. Things cannot be misplaced, thus protecting the chain of custody while simultaneously improving accessibility. Top-tier security measures such as encryption and password protection keep all data safe from unauthorized parties, and digital storage offers protection from natural disasters which would otherwise ruin paper copies stored in cabinets.
Vault does not have any size limitations.
Storing digital exhibits can take up a lot of space on servers. Vault brings all evidence into a Cloud environment to free up your on-prem servers for other uses. Other Digital Exhibit Management tools are available, but many severely limit the size of files permitted. We designed Vault to handle any size file (in just about any format). Upload entire cellphone or laptop data exports, store multi-hour videos, and save pdfs large or small. By importing these complete files into Vault, you always have 100% of the data at your fingertips. You can keep clips and screenshots for more specific pieces of evidence, but the entire file will remain in Vault for you to refer to later. A shocking number of cases include text messages, email threads, social media archives, and search history results. Vault is the leading tool that allows you to upload every piece of information, so it’s all laid out in black and white. Taking hundreds of screenshots of texts spanning months is time-consuming and messy. Instead, upload all data in one swoop to keep everything in the correct format and order.
Digital Exhibit Management with Vault eliminates 3rd party playback devices.
We are surrounded by evolving technology, but that doesn’t mean older forms are gone
entirely. If you look at any older CCTV/security footage, it’s likely on a VHS or a DVD. Audio recordings might be stored on cassettes or flash drives. Not only is this a hassle to manage, but it’s also inconvenient to playback. Any involved party will need access to a player to review these assets. In addition, those players must make their way to the courtroom during the trial. You can imagine the delays when switching from a VCR to a DVD player and back again. There’s no time to waste in complex trials rolling in TV carts, untangling wires, and getting the screen to work. Vault can be used for any multimedia file! Anything uploaded into Vault is automatically converted to a streamable format. During the trial, you only need a laptop or computer, and you’ll have instant access to every file in Vault. You can easily switch from showing video clips to displaying images without even leaving the platform! Gone are the days of waiting around for the “IT department” to get things set up – save time and stream everything directly from Vault!
Digital Exhibits are shareable.
We’ve briefly touched on the chain of custody in previous sections, but it’s worth another mention. Evidence isn’t of much use if all authorized parties cannot access it before trial. When using legacy systems, exhibits must be viewed in their storage facility or removed by one person at a time. Clearly, if someone has the only physical copy of a video or audio, anyone else needs to wait before they can get their hands on it too. This is one of the biggest causes of delays for Courts using legacy systems because everyone needs to wait their turn. If a piece of evidence is crucial to building a solid case, it will cause a significant delay if not everyone can access it when needed.
Vault saves time by granting access to files at the same time to multiple parties! All exhibits can be shared without exporting or downloading them. Because parties view the file without moving them, the chain of custody is protected. Exhibits can be shared securely with encryption to internal and external users. There’s even an option to share files with juries for their review before the verdict. All interactions with exhibits are tracked by automatic audit reporting, so every visit, share, comment, redaction, and more are recorded.
You can keep evidence for longer.
Lastly, a highlight of Vault is the ability to archive and save exhibits longer than you can with traditional storage options. Again, storing anything physical will take up space, and evidence lockers are only so big. After a while, you’ll have to relocate or remove evidence from past cases. We believe that evidence should be preserved both in the event the case is re-opened or if a similar case arises and you want to reference old notes. Vault can store digital exhibits easily to give you the option to hold onto case files even after a trial has ended. Each exhibit has editable metadata to help make organizing it easier. Later, you can search by case number, exhibit type, date, or other identifying factors to see what you did in past cases. There’s no need to rifle through boxes looking for a torn-up note that police found at the crime scene – just search via tags and pull up the digital version immediately! Exhibits won’t get lost even years later because they stay safely tucked away in Vault’s centralized repository.
Are you ready to modernize how you handle evidence? Vault Digital Exhibit Management is perfect for Courts, law firms, and even Insurers who regularly deal with multimedia assets. Vault is the modern solution to an age-old problem, and we guarantee you’ll save time and money when you switch. To learn more about Vault, please visit https://imagesoftinc.com/courts/digital-evidence-management/.