JusticeText launches video evidence management software for the Harris County Public Defender's Office

Harris county criminal justice center 2

Posted March 4, 2022

JusticeText is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Harris County Public Defender’s Office (PDO). 

The office was established in 2011 by the Harris County Commissioners Court to provide representation for individuals charged in Texas’s misdemeanor, felony, and juvenile courts who are unable to afford an attorney. The office seeks to provide holistic defense for its clients, working to not only address the pressing legal problems faced by their clients but also the circumstances that pushed their clients into the criminal justice system. This includes using interdisciplinary skill sets across an array of legal and non-legal services that enable them to become effective advocates for their clients.

Since its founding, the PDO has experienced a long standing record of success. Notably, under their representation, their clients were more likely to have their cases dismissed and obtain acquittal at rates higher than clients of both appointed and retained private counsel. Moreover, the office has achieved increasing dismissal rates for their mental health clients over the last six years.

JusticeText aims to support the agency in its efforts to achieve justice for their clients by providing their attorneys with software to draw meaningful insights from massive quantities of audiovisual evidence. 

Jackie Carpenter, an Assistant Public Defender in Harris County, reports that during trials, having clear and accurate transcripts is incredibly important to her work. She explains that transcripts can hold witnesses accountable for their words and elucidate the facts of a case to a jury. She says, “If you are looking at their actual statement and using their words, people are going to stop playing games and start admitting what they said. In front of a jury, this makes it appear as if you [the attorney] know exactly what happened.” 

She says, “If you are looking at their actual statement and using their words, people are going to stop playing games and start admitting what they said. In front of a jury, this makes it appear as if you [the attorney] know exactly what happened.”

To Carpenter, transcripts help grant credibility to her arguments and enable her to deliver a detail-oriented and fact-based narrative to the jury. 

Unfortunately, the process of synthesizing large volumes of video discovery can be painfully slow and inefficient, which can be challenging when grappling with time-sensitive cases. Prior to using JusticeText’s software, Carpenter would repeatedly switch between pausing and transcribing the audio. But, now, the process is much faster for her. “In the past, I would sit down with a statement and while listening to it, pause and type and play, back and forth,” she explains, “Now, the software allows me to play [the audio] for longer periods of time.” 

Carpenter adds that she appreciates the note-taking features of the platform, “I like that I can take notes on the transcript, highlight words, and create a comment box on the side that says this is important.” These features have helped her become more efficient in gathering information from audio files and extracting key insights that can help her obtain a desired outcome for her clients. 

Carpenter plans to continue using JusticeText’s software to assist her in transcribing audio files for her cases. With the new partnership between JusticeText and the PDO, more of her colleagues will be able to deploy JusticeText’s platform to produce transcripts. 

Ultimately, the new partnership represents a commitment from JusticeText to help the agency’s attorneys utilize technology as a resource to support their clients. We are proud to equip the office with the tools to simplify their data analysis and evidence extraction processes to acquire justice for the marginalized.

A group of positive emoji

"​​JusticeText allows our lawyers to use their time more efficiently in cases with video and audio evidence. That means they can better serve all our clients.” 

Alex Bunin

Chief Public Defender, Harris County

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.