This article presents research that investigated the use of digital evidence in the court system and its impact on prosecution outcomes.
Though the use of computer forensics in criminal investigations has expanded in recent years, there is little empirical evidence about the prevalence of the use of digital evidence in the court system and its impact on prosecution outcomes. This paper was an examination of criminal cases before the United States Courts of Appeal in which legal issues were related to digital evidence. The purpose of this research was to determine the most common legal basis for appeals relating to the introduction or exclusion of digital evidence, the frequency with which cases involving an appeal regarding digital evidence affirmed or reversed for the defense, whether certain challenges to digital evidence are more prevalent than others, and whether there are trends or areas of the law as applied to computer forensics and digital evidence needing further attention by the criminal justice system. 9 figures and 260 references (publisher abstract modified)