PHOENIX, AZ (May 29, 2012) – Prosecutors in the Vehicular Crimes Bureau of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will soon be using laptop and tablet computers to improve the overall quality of trial presentations, thanks to a grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The award consists of $36,700 in federal funds designated to help combat drunk driving and will allow attorneys to greatly enhance the visual depiction of crime scenes in court as well as work remotely in a paperless system.
“My office is grateful to Alberto Gutier, Director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, for making these funds available so that we can enhance our effectiveness in holding offenders accountable and keeping impaired drivers off our streets,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This technology is just the latest example of the types of best practices and operational efficiencies we are incorporating throughout the organization,” he added.
The Vehicular Crimes Bureau reviews 3,000 to 4,000 submittals a year, assigning upwards of 1,300 cases for prosecution. Due to the large volume of both felony and misdemeanor cases managed each year by attorneys, case preparation, management, scheduling and documentation have become burdensome tasks for prosecutors and staff. Police investigations frequently involve highly detailed technical reports and reconstruction diagrams documenting the circumstances of the criminal traffic offense. The technical nature of these reports and visual aids creates challenges for the presentation and prosecution of felony vehicular crimes cases.
With the new technology, prosecutors and legal support staff will be able to save and access documents, reports and exhibits in electronic form. Remote access capabilities will provide prosecutors with 24-7 access to case files and relevant information. The improved effectiveness of case processing and document management will lead to improved prosecution of both felony and misdemeanor cases.
Arizona has some of the toughest impaired driving laws in the country, with many types of first-time offenses punishable by mandatory jail time. Serious or repeat offenses can result in significant incarceration, the suspension or revocation of driving privileges, as well as mandatory interlock devices that prevent someone from operating a vehicle while intoxicated.