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How Wisconsin attorney Jessa Nicholson Goetz used JusticeText to uncover police misconduct buried within 40 hours of footage

Jessa case study

About Jessa Nicholson Goetz

Jessa Nicholson Goetz is a founding partner at Nicholson Goetz & Otis where she earned a reputation as one of the most skilled criminal defense attorneys in Wisconsin, especially in high-stakes and highly sensitive cases. Her steadfast, fearless advocacy and innovative practice has led to countless trial victories for her clients.

Beyond her day-to-day practice, Jessa leverages her experience to contribute back to the criminal defense community, speaking and teaching courses across the State of Wisconsin, and across the country.

Challenging power, seeing humanity

Speak to attorneys in Madison, WI, and you might think Jessa was always destined for criminal defense. Her colleagues casually say they’ll trust anything Jessa recommends, and her track record in high profile cases speaks for itself. Yet Jessa didn’t initially set out to be a trial lawyer.

Since high school, Jessa felt a willingness to challenge authority and hold power accountable to ensure everyone is treated fairly. “I was the kid in Doc Martins in all black in the back of the class… I always had a chip on my shoulder and really hated bullies.” However, it wasn’t until law school, when a family member was impacted by the criminal justice system, that her path became clearer.

While Jessa was at school, her brother was battling a substance abuse issue which ultimately led to an encounter with the criminal legal system. She stood with him through those challenging moments and was moved to action by what she experienced.

“I attended court proceedings with him and listening to the way the prosecutor talked about him versus who I know him to be really had an impact on me. It’s hard to listen to somebody describe someone you care about as having such little comparative value.”

After law school, Jessa began practicing criminal defense to advocate for the humanity of people in challenging situations.

“It’s hard to listen to somebody describe someone you care about as having such little comparative value.”

Uncovering police misconduct with JusticeText

Jessa has been using JusticeText for over a year to efficiently leverage all of the audio and video discovery on her cases. In a recent case, Jessa and her co-counsel were defending a client facing two felony charges that, together, could add up to a life sentence if convicted.  

Three days before jury selection, Jessa and team received 40 hours of body camera recordings. “It was a huge dump,” Jessa reflected. “There was no way that co-counsel and I were going to get through it all.” The team ran the body camera recordings through JusticeText, hoping to confirm a small detail and make a records request ahead of their next court appearance. In the process, the team decided to quickly review the automated transcripts generated by JusticeText just to “make sure nothing jumps out.” What they discovered shifted the course of the case.

Two hours before court, among the hours of poorly labeled body camera footage, Jessa discovered a conversation between a detective and a complaining witness, essentially agreeing to withhold evidence that could be damaging. The police report did not include any mention of this detective’s body camera footage.

As they prepared for court, Jessa quickly did a keyword search across the rest of the footage and revealed more instances where the detective elected to withhold evidence, suggesting a much larger pattern. “I ran everything through JusticeText and lo and behold, it revealed that the lead detective had destroyed evidence intentionally.”

"It was a huge dump. There was no way that co-counsel and I were going to get through it all"

Speed is of the essence

Reflecting on the process, Jessa and her paralegal, Jocelyn, shared the importance of moving quickly to discover and act on this withheld evidence. They used the rough JusticeText transcripts to preserve and compel release of the missing discovery before any of it was destroyed. Jessa shared that “without JusticeText, I would still be working on that audio and waiting for transcripts… it’s the difference between liberty and not liberty for someone whose rights were legitimately violated.”

However, the work didn’t stop at releasing discovery. The team still needed to review the 40 hours of content in detail – all while managing many other cases with trial dates set in the months ahead. With a short window to prepare, JusticeText was essential for searching through the voluminous discovery. Jocelyn reflected that “it would have taken a court reporter at least 3 months to work through the discovery we reviewed in weeks.”

"It’s the difference between liberty and not liberty for someone whose rights were legitimately violated"

Fully leveraging the evidence for trial - and beyond

Ahead of an upcoming hearing, Jessa and team have been working to maximize the impact of the evidence they discovered, creating small video clips for the presentation right from JusticeText. Jessa reflected that “we have it all mapped out with the exact timestamps because of JusticeText and we’ll be able to play them seamlessly in the presentation… I still don’t know how we would do this if I didn’t have this program.”

For Jessa, the work goes beyond the impact of the individual in the case – to her it’s about ensuring that others’ rights are protected from this type of misconduct. She filed what she describes as the “single most comprehensive documentation alleging bad faith by a police department” – 4x longer than any brief she’s filed before. The output from JusticeText formed a critical foundation for this brief.

As Jessa described, “I’m not going to make claims like this unless I can back them up – I wrote half a dissertation to prove this out and JusticeText cut my workload from like 12 weeks to 3 weeks.”

“I still don't know how we would do this if I didn't have this program.”

Small details, big impact

Body cameras, and video evidence in general, continue to play a larger role in criminal cases. Jessa reflected on the challenge that criminal defense attorneys, especially public defenders with high caseloads, face in finding the small moments that ultimately lead to accountability.  

“You get this disc with all these unhelpful file names… and you try to listen to all the audio, but you can imagine how you might skip over the untitled file that’s not mentioned in the police report. The prosecutor hadn’t listened to this. My co-counsel hadn’t even heard this until we started searching for something else and it opened up Pandora's box. And that’s what’s so scary – so many things have to go right to catch it.” 

Jessa explained that JusticeText is critical for catching these small moments. “Now I’ll run everything through JusticeText right at the beginning. It’s so much easier when you have a working transcript that’s produced so quickly.”

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"JusticeText is the single most useful thing that’s happened to me with court related tech."


Jessa Nicholson Goetz

Founding partner at Nicholson Goetz & Otis
  • What she needed

    • Identify critical moments in video evidence
    • Quickly prove evidence is withheld and secure a preservation order
    • Sort through 30+ hours of body cam footage in less than a week
  • What she did

    • Upload all body cam footage and get rough transcripts in minutes, not days
    • Create video clips in seconds and use footage to compel release of missing evidence
    • Find key moments by searching for keywords across hours of discovery

Is JusticeText Right For You?

If you are an attorney looking to make sense of high volumes of audiovisual discovery, there are many ways in which you can utilize JusticeText to streamline your pre-trial preparation process. Reach out today to learn about how you can get started with JusticeText.