TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — When it comes to the endless number of sensitive documents stored at the courthouse, transitioning to a virtual platform didn't happen overnight.
"One thing that's been a challenge for courts over the years, and all the participants of the court processes, is being able to send evidence in an efficient manner," said President of the Thomson Reuters Corporation government division, Steve Rubley.
Thomson Reuters is the company behind the new digital evidence center that is being rolled out in Arizona courts.
"It allows you to securely share the evidence, remotely, with people. Everybody has the same version of the evidence in the courtroom. You could use a platform like Zoom with our tool," said Rubley.
Arizona will be the first state in the country to have their courts use this tool. Pima County Superior Court will be one of six in Arizona to introduce it in January 2021.
"We didn't plan this because of the pandemic," said Administrative Office of Arizona Courts Director, Dave Byers.
Byers said it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Because of the new digital evidence center, cases that have been put on hold, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, could soon pick back up.
"We think this technique will really help us with the virtual hearings. We'll avoid continuances and make it easier for people," said Byers.
If, and when, in-person hearings resume, Byers said the process will be more efficient for all parties than ever before.
"Many years ago, the Pima County Clerks Office was the first to bring in a big, hard disk drive. They were the first ones to start taking things digital. I guess it's kind of appropriate that here we are now, 30 years later, and Pima County is one of the pilot courts," said Byers.
The Administrative Office of Arizona Courts hopes to have all courts in the state using the digital evidence center by the end of 2021.