Paper-less Office or Less-paper Office?

For a decade or so marketing hype has promoted the paperless office. Courts have begun to accept and in some instances require filings to be digital, on diskette, and/or on paper. According to a recent study 41 states now allow digital copies of documents into evidence. Late in 2002, the Supreme Court of Florida ordered mandatory filing of documents on computer diskette. Similarly, some federal courts, including the Eleventh Circuit, require electronic filing. Some civil and a few criminal cases are generating digital evidence and digitally imaged documents.

A typical white-collar criminal case can easily involve several gigabytes of data and/or several thousand printed pages of documents. Prices for Computer storage devices have plummeted. Storage capacity has sky-rocketed. A single gigabyte of storage can hold around 50,000 pages. Storage costs less than $1.50 per gigabyte. The costs associated with converting paper records to imaged and indexed data: around 24 cents a page.

To digitize or convert paper records to digital information includes high-speed imaging or scanning each page, followed by optical character recognition of the text in the documents, and finally associating the text of each image with the image files so that all of the documents could be searched by computer rather than trudging through the boxes that can fill a downtown conference room. This database containing the documents can be a deadly weapon in your arsenal. Offensively, patterns can be discerned and statistically relevant information can be easily analyzed. Defensively, smoking guns can be found and their problems addressed.

At first light, the most useful result of creating a digital copy of documents is analytical. However document imaging can also be useful for depositions, hearings, and trials. Once digitized the documents can be easily displayed on an ordinary television set, a computer monitor, a liquid crystal display projector or large screen plasma monitor.

While at the office much of the time, we do not need the original document. In such instances the digital image can be retrieved and reviewed on-screen or printed off the network printer. Document sharing and transmittal of copies is easier than ever once the digital copy of the documents has been produced. Simultaneous access to imaged materials by many users is a snap.

While away from the office, the document image can be retrieved and reviewed from a remote log-in to the network. The images or data can be stored on a notebook computer or on compact disk. Whether a desktop computer from another office, a notebook computer in court, or on a wireless device on the way to court, once the documents and files are accessible from anywhere, your handtruck and its cargo of banker’s boxes may be on its way to the junk heap. In the event of a disaster, copies of the data can be retrieved from storage and restored without missing a beat.

Adobe Acrobat has become the international standard for imaged documents. The program that creates the documents is around $250.00 per license. The program that reads the documents, Acrobat Reader, is free. Acrobat can be installed on almost any operating system, from Windows, to McIntosh, to Unix, to Linux, to Windows handheld devices, and Palm handheld devices. This yields documents that can be reviewed by anyone who receives a document and who obtains the free reader software.

Acrobat documents can be password protected, encrypted, digitally watermarked, made to be read-only, and digitally signed. Once created, an Acrobat copy can be authenticated and there can be high-level assurance that a copy has not been altered.

Can we eliminate the records center and empty our filing cabinets? Can we now eliminate putting pen to paper to sign documents? Do we really want to? What if the client wants his paperwork returned? Answers: Not yet; Yes; No; Oh-oh.

The paperless law office does not address the practicalities of the analog world. Clients may justifiably want their original source documents and courts may require them. This article was created paperlessly and was submitted to the publisher electronically via the Internet. There is not a paper copy of the article in my office. Notwithstanding the utility of digital record storage, and the promise of a paperless office, we are more likely approaching a less-paper office.

Tampa Computer Trial Attorney – Lawyer on Computers in Court

Tampa Computer Trial Attorney on Computers in Court

Law Enforcement and attorneys for the other side have a team working against you. Why not have your own Forensics Team working for you? More than ninety percent (90%) of documents are now created electronically, and less than thirty percent (30%) of those electronic documents are ever converted to paper. Rules on preserving electronically stored information and strategies to recover that data make having a Forensic eDiscovery team more important than ever before.


Tampa Computer Trial Attorney - Lawyer
Police have specialized equipment analyzing original digital media such as hard drives, disks, and flash drives, and optical disk drives in the computer forensics lab. There is special hardware and software that retrieves evidence from cell phones, including text messages (SMS) and pictures. For computers, specialized software is used to examine the computers and extract the evidence. We can too.


We use a team of attorney(s) and forensics expert(s) to help sort through data used in prosecution of federal indictments and state charges, fraud, hacking, theft of trade secrets, and other forms of cybercrimes.


With surge in popularity of mobile devices we can now forensically retrieve Information from mobile devices.  We also provide help in searching corporate e-mail, personal e-mail, Short Message Service (SMS) text messages, personal notes, calendar entries, photographs, address books, and inbound and outbound call logs. This type of information can be invaluable to prove certain facts for a case.

Remember – an expert can help preserve the chain of custody and this data can then be used in litigation.

Computer in Court? Tell Me Your Story 813-222-2220 .

Decryption of Hard Drive Blocked

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TrueCrypt and the Fifth Amendment

Password Decrypt Hard Drive

 TrueCrypt and the Fifth Amendment

Federal Defense Attorney just won a case where the defendant was ordered to decrypt a hard drive the government had lawfully seized. Feds tried to force a defendant to give up a password used to encrypt several hard drives using TrueCrypt.

Case Excerpts: “The Fifth Amendment protects Doe’s refusal to decrypt and produce the contents of the media devices because the act of decryption and production would be testimonial . . . .”


“We hold that Doe properly invoked the Fifth Amendment privilege. In response, the Government chose not give him the immunity the Fifth Amendment and 18 U.S.C. § 6002 mandate, and the district court acquiesced. Stripped of Fifth Amendment protection, Doe refused to produce the unencrypted contents of the hard drives. The refusal was justified, and the district court erred in adjudging him in civil contempt. The district court’s judgment is accordingly REVERSED”

Congrats to Attorney Chet Kaufman 

Decryption an Issue? Call Casey at 813-222-2220