Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


The court record has three components, each historically paper-based and tangible: (1) filings; (2) transcripts; and (3) exhibits. Given technology changes, filings and transcripts now are often kept as digital files. Exhibits, however, continue to be received and held by the court in tangible form. Technology changes mean that will soon change, and will change drastically. The 2016 Joint Technology Committee Resource Bulletin: Managing Digital Evidence in Courts, warned that “[c]ourt management systems are not currently designed to manage large quantities of digital evidence, which means that courts and industry must find creative ways to deal immediately with the dramatically increasing volume of digital evidence, while planning for and developing new capabilities.” This article is the first published response to that urgent warning. The article summarizes recommendations for court management of digital evidence. The article next discusses the evolving court record format and the truly digital evidence concept. Detailed workgroup reports follow, addressing: (1) digital formats; (2) storage and management; and (3) rules, including suggested rule changes. The article is designed to make sure this critical analysis is available now as well as to serve as a resource for courts, academics, technology experts, and others for years to come.

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