Email Discovery on Misdemeanors from Williamson County Attorney

by Russ Hunt on January 25, 2011

A word of praise for the Williamson County Attorney's office in their implementation of an email discovery program.  Essentially, it enables me to skip one step in my usual process so that I get my discovery more quickly than I normally would.

I handle a significant number of misdemeanor cases in Williamson county.  The normal discovery procedure in Wilco has always been convenient for me–I walk the two blocks to the County Attorney's office to pick up my paper copies of discovery.   Easy.

Then, when I return to the office either I or Leslie always scan the offense report into the computer system so that I will have an electronic copy.  I also use a document synchronization program called SugarSync which mirrors the contents of my documents folders in various locations–at the office, at the home office, on the laptops, on my smartphone.  In this way the documents are immediately available to me wherever I am.   Even if I am in an out of town courtroom without my laptop computer, I can retrieve the contents of my documents folders and read them on my smartphone screen.

The new process is fast and convenient for the State and the defense.  As before, I fill out a discovery request form, but now a few days later the County Attorney's office will send me a copy of the offense report directly to my email box.  This enables me to make fast and thorough case evaluation.  The process will also certainly save the County the significant expense of making a huge volume of paper copies which then have to be physically distributed to their intended recipients which itself takes valuable time away from the support staff in the prosecutor's office.

This process will benefit out-of-town lawyers even more because they will not have to make the trip to Georgetown to get their discovery–it will come to them. 

A side benefit to the county if they decide to use it is that they will be able to greatly cut down on physical storage needs for closed files.  As the County Attorney's office is a government law office which handles huge volumes of paper, a move to reduce paper in this environment can bring significant savings in paper, time and long-term storage costs.

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