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How to Choose the Right Evidence Management Software

Today, the management of digital evidence plays a crucial role in the successful prosecution of offenders in your community. Both prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers rely heavily on digital evidence, making it essential to choose the right evidence management software. By doing so, both sides of the case can streamline the management process and ensure a seamless flow of information.

Selecting the right evidence management software is vital for:

  1. Streamlined discovery: With the growing volume of digital evidence, it is crucial to have a robust system in place to organize, store, and manage this information efficiently. The right evidence management software simplifies the discovery process, allowing legal teams to quickly identify and access relevant evidence.
  2. Enhanced collaboration: Collaboration is a critical factor in the legal field, and the right evidence management software can facilitate seamless teamwork and problem-free discovery. It allows prosecutors and defense lawyers to effectively and securely share digital evidence with the right annotations and specific notes. 
  3. Improved efficiency: A comprehensive evidence management software automates repetitive tasks, such as organizing and cataloging evidence, saving valuable time for the intake team in your office. It enables faster evidence reviews, reduces administrative burdens, and enhances overall productivity for all members of the prosecution.
  4. Strong case history audit trail: Maintaining the integrity of evidence is paramount in any case. The right software provides a secure and auditable log, ensuring that evidence remains tamper-proof and admissible in court.
  5. Cost-effectiveness: By utilizing efficient evidence management software, legal professionals can reduce expenses associated with manual paperwork and physical storage. A digital evidence management system, or DEMS, eliminates the need for physical storage spaces, saves time on manual processes, and increases cost-effectiveness for prosecution offices. Plus, the right evidence management solution will include CJIS-compliant digital storage solutions for all your office’s evidence.

Choosing the right evidence management software significantly streamlines how prosecutors manage caseloads. It simplifies discovery, enhances collaboration, improves efficiency, maintains a strong chain of custody, and offers cost-effective solutions for legal professionals. 

Evidence management vs. case management.

In the prosecution world, effective case management and comprehensive evidence management are both essential for success. While both focus on organizing and streamlining information, the two serve distinct purposes. Understanding the difference between case management and evidence management is crucial for prosecuting attorneys to efficiently handle their caseloads. 

Case management:

Case management refers to the overall process of handling a case. It involves organizing and maintaining all aspects of the case, including legal documents, court dates, witness information, and case strategy. Prosecuting attorneys rely on case management systems to keep track of important dates, tasks, and deadlines, ensuring they can effectively navigate the complex legal process.

Evidence management:

On the other hand, evidence management specifically deals with the handling of physical and digital evidence. Prosecuting attorneys must collect, review, analyze, and present a piece of evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Evidence management systems provide the tools necessary to securely store, track, and manage this crucial information throughout the entirety of a case.

While case management focuses on overall case organization and strategy, evidence management addresses the specific needs of handling and presenting evidence. Both functions are crucial for prosecuting attorneys to effectively represent the interests of justice. By utilizing efficient evidence management software, prosecutors can streamline their workflows and ensure seamless access to critical evidence, ultimately increasing their chances of successful outcomes in the courtroom.

With that distinction made, read on to compare three of the industry’s top evidence management software solutions to see which option is right for your office. 

Evidence management in Prosecutor by Karpel:

After 30 years of serving the American judicial system, PbK is the most widely used prosecutor case management software in the US. Recently, PbK has expanded into the realm of evidence management. 

PbK’s Evidence Tracking allows your team to enter and track case evidence, both off-site or on a shelf in your evidence room. PbK automatically catalogs the evidence you enter with options to include a photo or a link to a media file. You can then check the evidence in and out and PbK will record all transactions for you to complete the chain of custody.

Prosecutor by Karpel is primarily case management software and integrates with Evidence.com (Axon Justice) for more complete digital evidence management. 

PbK strengths: 

  • PbK is the top case management software in the U.S. 
  • The software offers complete, automated chain of custody recordkeeping.
  • PbK integrates with evidence.com for eDiscovery purposes.
  • This software is best for very large offices in major metropolitan counties.

PbK drawbacks:

  • Digital evidence management is incomplete within PbK and requires integration with Evidence.com.
  • Smaller offices receive less support and longer wait times when experiencing issues.
  • Evidence storage is not included, and it is still necessary to pay for outside digital evidence storage and sharing solutions like DVDs, shared digital drives, flash drives, etc.
  • Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) and partners cannot easily log in to add digital evidence to your case. Collaboration tools are largely designed for the prosecution and defense, without dedicated tools to support and simplify the process for LEOs and the multidisciplinary team (MDT).
  • Prosecutor by Karpel includes limited training and has a confusing, outdated user interface.
  • Price: $$$$. PbK is one flat fee, without a sliding scale or price differential for smaller teams or offices. 

While PbK offers prosecutors and defense attorneys a comprehensive and reliable solution for managing caseloads, their digital evidence management offering is still in its initial stages. Karpel is not an expert in this area, and they lean on their integration with Axon Justice’s Evidence.com to support the more advanced tools of digital evidence management and discovery. 

Evidence management in Axon Justice:

Axon Justice and Axon Evidence (Evidence.com) are relatively new offerings from the makers of the Axon Body Camera, used widely throughout the law enforcement industry. Axon Evidence is a digital evidence management system built to improve the way law enforcement agencies handle digital evidence, offering a streamlined and efficient approach to evidence management. Axon’s approach is centered around LEOs and has been modified to work for the prosecutor’s office. 

With Axon Justice Premier and Axon Evidence, the time-consuming process of collecting, storing, and sharing digital evidence is simplified for LEOs, allowing these agencies to focus on their core responsibilities. The system integrates various file types, including video recordings, images, and documents, enabling the consolidation of evidence from multiple sources in one central location.

Axon Evidence (Evidence.com) is the digital asset management system (DAMS) for Axon Justice, and this is where the prosecutor’s office will spend its time. Evidence.com promotes effective collaboration and a streamlined workflow among legal teams.

Axon Evidence strengths: 

  • This software is designed for collaboration with law enforcement officers.
  • Axon Evidence is made to integrate with Axon’s body-worn cameras and footage.
  • The software supports other video playback & creates transcriptions of video.
  • Axon Evidence includes storage for video and digital files, at an additional cost.

Axon Evidence drawbacks:

  • Axon Evidence was not built with the prosecution’s needs in mind. This software is very LEO-centric. 
  • This software includes very limited eDiscovery tools.
  • Axon Evidence has limited Chain of Custody automation and record keeping.
  • Workflows in Axon Evidence are designed for the law enforcement process, rather than the prosecution’s process.
  • Designed for the largest offices, like King County or San Bernardino County, Axon offers little support for smaller offices. 
  • Time to onboard for your office can be greater than six months.
  • Axon Evidence can become pricier over time due to the limited, pay-by-seat number of user accounts per license.
  • Price: $$$$

Evidence management in Guardify for Prosecutors:

Guardify for Prosecutors is an advanced digital evidence management system designed by former prosecuting attorneys for today’s prosecutor’s office. From our roots in child advocacy, we created Guardify for Prosecutors to streamline the collection, distribution, and secure storage of crucial information from the multidisciplinary team. Guardify for Prosecutors is the only digital evidence management solution designed specifically to solve evidence management challenges for the prosecution.

With powerful, intuitive features and functionalities, Guardify for Prosecutors offers numerous benefits that enhance the efficiency of evidence management:

  1. Streamlined workflow: Guardify for Prosecutors simplifies the evidence collection process, allowing law enforcement agencies and other prosecution partners to focus on their core responsibilities. The user-friendly interface and intuitive design make it easy to navigate and operate. All agencies and third-party organizations can add evidence to your case with a simple link click. 
  2. Compatibility: Guardify for Prosecutors is compatible with all file types and sources, including proprietary video recordings, audio recordings, images, social media files, documents, and more. This allows for the consolidation of evidence from multiple sources in one central location, making it easier for your office to access and analyze the evidence.
  3. Secure storage: Guardify for Prosecutors ensures the integrity and security of digital evidence with its robust storage capabilities. This CJIS-compliant system employs encryption and authentication protocols adherent to the FBI’s standards to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access. Guardify is also fully HIPAA compliant for the storage and sharing of medical reports.
  4. Efficient collaboration: Guardify for Prosecutors promotes effective collaboration between the prosecution and community agencies by providing variable sharing permissions. This enables all teams to easily distribute and view evidence, enhancing the efficiency of the entire criminal justice process. You’ll experience a streamlined evidence collection process and faster evidence reviews.
  5. Comprehensive discovery and case history audit tools: Read receipts, automated notation, and permission-based sharing system allow your team to distribute everything you need – and nothing you shouldn’t. 
  6. In-app transcription, redaction, and editing of video evidence: Create and edit automated transcriptions of video and audio evidence. Redact and edit video evidence within the platform and on the fly – without asking for a recess or calling in a specialist. 
  7. Comprehensive training: Guardify provides complete training for your entire team. They will also help onboard partner agencies, as well as provide Customer Support. The interface and tools are designed to be easy to use for all users. 

In addition to these powerful features, Guardify for Prosecutors offers best-in-class, responsive customer service. Based in the United States, Guardify’s support staff provides immediate responses to issues, comprehensive training, and on-demand customer service for all needs. The company also complies with CJIS regulations, ensuring the security and confidentiality of data. Guardify even provides a dedicated CJIS compliance officer who assists if agencies are audited.

Guardify for Prosecutors strengths: 

– Designed for the specific needs of the prosecutor’s office, but prioritizes ease-of-use for all contributing agencies with one-click evidence collection/delivery.

– Dedicated support for offices of all sizes.

-Cloud-Hosted Digital Evidence Management and Storage enables you to access needed items from anywhere.

– CJIS-Compliant evidence storage is included with the price of your subscription. 

– Comprehensive Discovery & case history audit tools with automatic logging, record keeping, and evidence receipt tracking.

– Unlimited number of user accounts. 

– Pricing is based on how many cases you file and store each year. You only pay for what you use. This makes the software very affordable for small- and medium-sized offices. 

– A free trial period allows your team to try out the software for themselves.

Guardify for Prosecutors drawbacks: 

– Not a dedicated case management software, but it can serve as basic case management for small offices, in some cases, and has available integrations with top case management software systems, like Odyssey. 

Ready to try Guardify for Prosecutors?

Guardify for Prosecutors’s evidence management capabilities are specifically designed to meet the needs of district attorneys and the entire prosecutor’s office. By streamlining the collection, storage, transcription, editing, and sharing of digital evidence, Guardify for Prosecutors enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of your entire office. Accelerate justice for your community – get a no-obligation trial of Guardify for Prosecutors today. 

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