Magazine article Information Management

Criminal Courts Finally Address ESI Issues

Magazine article Information Management

Criminal Courts Finally Address ESI Issues

Article excerpt

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U.S. federal and state courts have succumbed to the increasing, overwhelming volume of discovery-related cases and are taking steps to address the challenge.

Early this year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the court's Administrative Office (AO) released the jointly developed "Recommendations for Electronically Stored Information (ESI) Discovery Production in Federal Criminal Cases," which in addition to recommendations, includes strategies, commentary, and a checklist for ESI discovery production.

The recommendations are intended to "limit overall criminal justice discovery costs, reduce the number of discovery disputes, and shorten the time for processing complex cases," said Theodore Lidz, the AO's assistant director for the Office of Defender Services. They are built on 10 principles that include the expectation that lawyers:

* Understand e-discovery and the issues around it

* Include individuals with sufficient technical knowledge and experience with ESI in the e-discovery process from start to finish

* Meet and confer at the onset on the details of producing ESI and make an effort to reasonably limit the cost and burden associated with it

* Make a good-faith effort to discuss and resolve disputes over ESI discovery before involving the court

* Allow for reasonable usability, reasonably limit costs, and, if possible, conform to industry format standards

* Limit dissemination of ESI and ensure its security

Andrew Goldsmith, national criminal discovery coordinator for the DOJ and co-chair of the working group that drafted the recommendations, described them as "a pragmatic approach to the increasing challenges presented by ESI in criminal cases. …

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