Digital Evidence Task Force

Report and Recommendations of the Arizona Task Force on Court Management of Digital Evidence

Litigation increasingly involves digital evidence, particularly from audio and video recording devices. Technology used to create, store, and display information has changed dramatically over the years and will continue to do so in the future. More recently, the creation of digital video evidence through the use of smart-device cameras, body-worn cameras, and other public and private surveillance equipment has grown exponentially. Courts responsible for managing digital evidence face unique challenges related to receiving, retrieving, accessing, formatting, converting, and retaining digital evidence as well as protection and disposition issues.

The Task Force on Court Management of Digital Evidence was established by Administrative Order 2016-129 to develop policies for court management of digital evidence. The task force will consider these issues:

1. Should court digital evidence be stored locally, offsite, or using cloud services and how long and in what manner should such evidence be retained?

2. Should management of court digital evidence be centralized or decentralized considering technology costs, expertise, and infrastructure necessary to manage it?

3. Should court rules governing public records be revised to address access and privacy concerns, including for victims, non-victim witnesses, and other identifying information often included in video evidence?

4. Should new or amended rules on chain of custody evidence be developed for handling court digital evidence?

5. Should standardized acceptable formats, viewing, storage, preservation, and conversion formats or technical protocols for digital evidence be adopted for all courts?