The importance of digital forensic examinations has grown immensely in the past years alongside a growing need for forensic technologists that are suited to perform the analysis. A backlog of around 200 cases involving digital evidence has accumulated at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science as the Department battles staffing issues while attempting to complete examinations in an reasonable amount of time.
WUSA9 has reported that a years-long backlog of casework may be “delaying justice for victims” in criminal investigations.
The article highlighted the story of Basil John Chuppa, who was accused of strangulation and sexual battery. When he received a guilty conviction, investigators wanted a forensic analysis performed of Chuppa’s cell phone to determine if there were additional victims. His device was sent to the Forensic Science office in Richmond and has yet to be examined. Cases involving murder, arson, and drug investigations are some of the additional cases involving electronic evidence that are still waiting to have the devices analyzed.
The accumulation started when the staffing for the Department was insufficient. Now, the Department has all positions filled and is currently working to catch up with the large backlog.
When it is determined that cases will include digital evidence, it’s important to move quickly to have the evidence examined all while being sure to follow best practices.
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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology