JusticeText launches partnership to improve indigent defense outcomes for the Stanislaus County Public Defender

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Posted May 20, 2022

JusticeText is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Stanislaus County Public Defender’s Office (SCPDO). Located in Modesto, California, SCPDO has 30 attorneys and legal support staff dedicated to indigent defense. The agency is now using JusticeText’s evidence management platform to analyze body camera footage and other critical audiovisual discovery.

The influx of body camera footage has transformed the agency’s criminal defense practice. SCPDO Chief Public Defender Jennifer Jennison shares, “In every case, we get body-cam footage from every officer that was on the scene, and our attorneys are drowning in trying to get through all of that evidence.” 

Prior to their partnership with JusticeText, Stanislaus public defenders struggled to analyze the volume of evidence they received from prosecutors. They had to watch videos one-by-one, spending hours poring over the footage to glean information that might help their clients.

“It’s a tremendous time suck. All of our police agencies, except maybe one, use body cameras, so we get hours and hours of it."

The Stanislaus County District Attorney (SCDA), by contrast, receives substantially more funding from the state of California. One of the key results of this funding gap is that the SCDA has five times more investigators than the local public defender’s office. This staffing model makes it substantially easier for the SCDA to review the volume of audiovisual evidence and effectively prepare for trial.

JusticeText is helping to address this funding and resource gap by empowering Stanislaus public defenders to inspect footage more quickly and easily than ever before. After uploading a file to the platform, attorneys can quickly view a rough transcript of their desired video, take notes on important interactions, and share clips with co-workers and clients. 

Since they began using JusticeText’s evidence management software, Stanislaus attorneys have noticed immediate improvements. Jennison shared, “[JusticeText’s tool] is nothing but positive for us. It’s a time saver. It’s going to allow us to watch more body cam videos, which will help settle cases sooner. It’ll help improve relationships with our clients and our ability to negotiate cases with the DA. It’s really exciting for us.” 

JusticeText is proud to meet the discovery management needs of the SCPDO, and our hope is that the tool will help the organization’s attorneys find the evidence needed to mount effective defenses for their clients. Ultimately, this partnership is bringing JusticeText one step closer to ensuring all Americans receive strong legal representation in the justice system regardless of income.

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"Body-cam video has changed everything. There are cases where I've read the police report, and it doesn't look good, but then I see the video and the situation is entirely different. When you look back and think about what would have happened over the past few decades if video had been so easily available, outcomes would have been different for a lot of clients."

Jennifer Jennison

Stanislaus 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.