This year ADF’s own Kevin Smith was invited to teach at the Special Victim Prosecutor (SVP) Conference held in January. The SVP Conference is a training conference presented by the Trial Counsel Assistance Program (TCAP) and is a bi-annual event that allows SVPs from across the United States Army to come together and discuss various aspects of handling and presenting special victim cases in court. This January, the event was held at the Pepperdine University School of Law and was primarily focused on theories and tactics of cross-examination of witnesses, specifically expert witnesses.
Dr. Matthew Soulier (Forensic Psychology), Dr. Dan Davis (Forensic Pathology), Mr. Kevin Smith (Computer Forensics), each took the opportunity to present to an audience of approximately thirty United States Army Officers, covering various aspects of their perspective fields. Following these presentations, several breakout sessions afforded the prosecutors an opportunity to conduct a cross-examination of each expert and receive feedback from the experts and their peers.
Regarding computer forensics, Mr. Smith highlighted some of the challenges which he sees as detrimental to any case involving digital evidence. Chief among those is the lack of communication between Counsel and experts. Mr. Smith highlighted the necessity for Counsel to include their experts at every phase of the trial preparation process, through adjudication. More important than a constant line of communication, is the establishment of that communication early in the process so that as an investigation evolves, additional analysis can be requested and conducted in a manner that is conducive to producing a thorough work product. Additionally, the group discussed a variety of topics that included computer forensic tools, methodology, industry certifications, and expert qualifications.
During the breakout sessions, the cross-examinations evolved into lengthy discussions about different computer forensic artifacts, their relationships to each other, and how those artifacts help an examiner determine a user’s interaction with a computer or mobile device. These open discussions proved to be hugely beneficial, and it quickly became apparent that the more SVPs learn about these artifacts, the more they realized the importance and value of digital evidence.
If you would like to find out more about the SVP Conference series or how digital evidence artifacts could help your case, please contact Kevin Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 460-9153.