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Indigent Defense and Technology: A Progress Report

NCJ Number
Robert L. Spangenberg; Marea L. Beeman; David J. Carroll; David Freedman; Evelyn Pan; David J. Newhouse; Dorothy Chan
Date Published
November 1999
33 pages
Publication Series
This report looks at how technology is changing the way attorneys and staff work in public defender offices.
Technology is improving client access to attorneys and attorney access to information and is also facilitating case information management, the presentation of evidence in court, and the access of attorneys to routine pleadings. Little is known, however, about how information integration is affecting the broader issues of case processing and client representation. A survey of the use of technology by public defender offices in the United States in April 1999 was accomplished by sending questionnaires to 115 offices to collect information about computerization, case management, and information access capabilities. Of the 115 offices, 52 (45 percent) responded. The most effective technology users trained all staff properly, employed an information specialist to manage information systems and to evaluate rapid changes in technology, networked with other public defenders and information specialists, evaluated current and future office needs, and built support from local elected officials and within the local criminal justice system. An overview of survey results is appended, and sources of additional information are noted. 12 tables

Date Published: November 1, 1999