As a video forensic expert, I am very aware of the many software tools that are available for examining and authenticating video evidence which will be used in litigation. Some of the software is extremely advanced and requires a thorough understanding of technology in order to be able to use these tools. They’re great, and many of them perform tasks that were never possible before in the video forensic community. However, I keep my eye on the simplicity of my results and conclusions when testifying in court. There’s one thing judges and juries don’t need, and that is a complicated conclusion from a forensic expert. Based on my 28+ years working as an audio and video forensic expert, I understand how important it is to keep my findings simple and to the point when testifying in court. I think it’s a big mistake for forensic experts to use complicated reports and test results in court that judges and juries don’t understand. They need to know, based on your experience, what your opinion is in regard to the evidence in question, and that’s it they do not need to know how detailed the investigation was that you conducted. Instead, briefly discuss in your report the processes and procedures that you used to arrive at your conclusions. Do judges and juries just want to know if the video was edited? Is the video authentic? Can you identify the people and the characters in the video? Are you working for the defense or are you working for the prosecution? Either way, your report will exemplify your experience, credibility, and ability to arrive at a conclusion and be able to support that conclusion during cross-examination.
So going forward, I will continue to learn about all of the software tools that are available to me as a video forensic expert, but will also take into account the necessity of keeping my findings simple. I believe these forensic tools will help me do a better job going forward as I determine which ones to bring into our lab and which ones to avoid. Knowing the basics, the basic tools and the way they operate is critical as closed-circuit television footage and body camera recordings become more prominent in litigation. Keeping up with technology is one of the most important tasks of the video forensic expert and it’s gaining an increasing focus from the forensic field.
Description: Video forensic experts need to keep up with technology while keeping the descriptions of their findings simple.