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Sarpy County Public Defender begins leveraging AI software for body cam review

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Posted August 23, 2023

JusticeText is thrilled to announce a partnership with the Sarpy County Public Defender's Office in Nebraska.​​ Sarpy County is the third largest county in the state, with a population of nearly 200,000. The office’s 12 full-time attorneys seek to provide high-quality representation to their indigent clients while balancing incredibly high caseloads. We are proud to be supporting their work by introducing state-of-the-art AI to their review of criminal discovery. 

Human-centered legal representation

Tom Strigenz was first elected as the Sarpy County Public Defender in 2004. Since then, the office has grown considerably and fostered a culture of human-centered representation. “I love being a voice for people, especially those from otherwise underserved populations,” says Strigenz. “I’m all about fairness and making sure people have their stories told.”

Shannon Eustice, who serves as the Administrative Services Manager, takes pride in the strong relationships the office has built with their clients. The office lobby is decorated with thank-you notes from former clients, many of whom sent their letters from prison while incarcerated. Strigenz explains, “Even then, they are just grateful to have had someone stick up for them and tell their story.”

Sarpy office

Overworked and understaffed

The rewarding aspects of public defense work are nonetheless coupled with many challenges. Public defender offices across Nebraska are grappling with excessive caseloads and understaffing issues. While Strigenz is grateful for the resources their office has received, he is always looking for opportunities to alleviate the workload burden on his attorneys. 

Digital discovery is playing an increasingly large role in public defender caseloads nationwide, and Sarpy County is no exception. The Sarpy County Sheriff's office rolled out body cameras across their police force beginning in 2021. As recently as last month, they requested that 14 license plate reader cameras be installed in crime hot spots throughout the county. 

"Everything is audio and video, and the use of it has exploded. While the discovery is helpful for increasing accountability, it's also hard to manage."

Strigenz emphasizes that clients and witnesses often misremember critical details, but body cameras provide an objective summary of events. The main challenge for the office is finding time to review the voluminous footage. 

Leveraging AI in discovery review

As Strigenz began searching for a solution to alleviate the burden of discovery review, he learned about JusticeText from Douglas County Public Defender Tom Riley whose office has been using the software since July 2022. As we continue to grow our impact in Nebraska, we are proud to be partnering with advocates like Strigenz to improve criminal justice outcomes for indigent defendants.

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"JusticeText will help us in the discovery and preparation phase of our cases, and help us make better, more-efficient use of our time."

Tom strigenz

Tom Strigenz

Chief Defender, Sarpy County Public Defender

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.