Zeroes and Ones: Bits, Bytes, and the Science of Digital Evidence in the Criminal Justice System

Henry R. Reeve, Denver District Attorney's Office

Whether digital evidence is recovered in a high-tech crime investigation or in connection with a more traditional crime against a person or property, the criminal justice system (both state and federal) is well into a steep learning curve of how to properly handle this relatively new type of evidence. The recovery of digital evidence can be viewed as a matter of science, mathematics, both, or mere metaphysics, among other things. The courts, prosecutors, and defense bar, must be properly educated about the nature and functioning of computers, data, along with the relevant forensic processes. An overview inquiry into those issues will be conducted along with identification of various resources presently available to investigators and the bar. Finally, the crystal ball of the foreseeable future will be consulted for an assessment of some future needs.

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Updated 05/20/2006