U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Computer in Court - A Guide to Computer Evidence for Lawyers and Computing Professionals

NCJ Number
A Kelman; R Sizer
Date Published
102 pages
Using a court case presented in the form of dialog between judge, counsel, witness, and expert witnesses, this book shows lawyers how to highlight errors in computer output, and used as evidence computers users how to ensure that evidence is admissible and useful in proving issues of fact.
Errors in computer output can arise from a number of sources. The hardware or software may be faulty or may develop faults when interacting with other components in a particular computer network; the hardware may develop faults because it is working in an unsuitable environment; the software may be inadequately tested and contain hidden errors; faults may be produced by telecommunication lines used for transmission of data between computers in a network; and users may be inadequately trained. At least three issues should be considered in determining the admissibility of computer evidence: (1) whether the computer evidence is hearsay or real and whether it is admissible as one of the exceptions to the hearsay rule; (2) whether the computer evidence is reliable; and (3) whether the evidence presented is the 'best evidence' that can be obtained from the computer. Four courtroom dramas are portrayed to illustrate and illuminate problems that beset lawyers and computer professionals in dealing with computer evidence. The cases demonstrate the complexities of the law and explain the technical jargon of computing so nonspecialists can understand the concepts. The appendixes discuss computer basics and special crimes made possible by computer technology. Ten bibliographic listings are provided.


No download available