Gone are the days of giant poster boards depicting trial evidence that end up clogging courthouse storage rooms.
The District Attorney’s Office is using an iPad application called TrialPad to present evidence in a more dynamic way.
Deputy District Attorney David Grapilon, who is helping train other prosecutors on the application, said presenting evidence electronically allows for agility, more detail, higher levels of juror scrutiny and more creativity. The application allows the trial attorney to zoom in, highlight, and draw attention to specific items in an exhibit.
“When you can compare diagrams side to side, it really provides for much more powerful exhibits,” Grapilon said. “Also, I can respond more quickly to witness statements for rebuttal or cross examination.”
In response to a San Diego Superior Court rule that says poster boards can no longer be used in trials except for homicide cases because of storage issues, prosecutors began exploring new ways to present important evidence.
“This is not going to take the place of physical exhibits — the guns, the knives or the drugs,” Grapilon said. “It’s for photos, diagrams, text documents or anything you want the jury to see that is written.”
Prosecutors in the Chula Vista, Vista and downtown San Diego Hall of Justice branches are already using the new application. The El Cajon and Juvenile branches will start training soon.
So far, San Diego is the only DA’s Office in the state using the application, but Grapillion said the U.S. Attorney’s Office has shown an interest as well.
Using an iPad to show evidence in the courtroom has already received good reviews from jurors in after-trial interviews, Grapilon said.
“Older jurors are impressed they can see an exhibit on a T.V. monitor,” he said. “The younger ones are impressed an iPad can be used for more than entertainment.”