Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Growing Role of Technology and Big Data in White Collar Cases

Three recent articles confirm the growing significance of technology and big data to both the general practice of law and the field of white collar crime in particular.

The first article, appearing in Enterprise Tech, is entitled Big Data Plays Arresting Role in White Collar Crime.  The piece discusses the manner in which analytical tools and big data are making it easier for law enforcement to discover and understand fiscal anomalies.

The second article, appearing earlier this year in Forbes, reiterates the role of big data in white collar investigations.  In the article, entitled Analysis of Big Data Leads to Big Arrests in Medicare Part D Fraud, Walt Pavlo explores the important role of technology in the arrest of 243 people in an alleged $712 million scheme.

The final article, appearing in the ABA Journal, is entitled What the Jobs Are: New Tech and Client Needs Create a New Field of Legal Operations.  This article is not about white collar crime.  However, it does offer a detailed discussion of the use of technology and data to increase the efficiency of law firm management and the provision of legal services.  When read in combination, the three pieces provide a fascinating glimpse into the future of legal practice and the important role technology and big data are already playing in a changing landscape. 


October 28, 2015 in Investigations, News, Science, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Constitution (and its Confrontation Clause): An Inconvenience Pact


The Boston Globe carries this article today by John R. Ellement, echoing Massachusetts prosecutors' complaints that defense lawyers in the Bay State are "exploiting" the Supreme Court's 2009 Confrontation Clause decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts. (Melendez-Diaz applied the Supreme Court's earlier Crawford v. Washington holding to forensic analysts' laboratory reports.) According to the article, "the state’s 35 chemists have been ordered to prepare for court 1,606 times, but actually testified only 184 times." Allegedly, some defense attorneys insist that state chemists appear for trial in hopes that scheduling conflicts will prevent their attendance and result in dismissal. Imagine that.

Although the story is generally well-written, Ellement fails to explain, in even the most rudimentary form, the Confrontation Clause principles behind the high Court's ruling. Thankfully, he does quote Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' President John H. Cunha Jr., who reminds Ellement that "[t]o just come in there with a piece of paper that says somebody is guilty is contrary to our system,’’ and that “[c]ross-examination is supposed to test the evidence. . . . The U.S. Constitution is not a technicality.’’ No doubt Cunha made the Confrontation Clause point in more detail that failed to make its way into print. 

The article is not without some irony. One of the bellyachers who Ellement quotes, concerning the supposed deleterious effects of Melendez-Diaz, is John A. Grossman, "the Patrick administration’s top specialist on forensic sciences." Grossman seems to have spoken to the press as part of an official effort to negatively assess Melendez-Diaz. Yet Ellement also reports, near the tail end of the piece, that, "yesterday, the Patrick administration announced it had appointed a UMass Memorial Medical Center official to take over the State Police lab, a job that has been vacant since 2007 after mismanagement of forensic evidence was discovered."  (emphasis added).


June 11, 2010 in Current Affairs, Privileges, Prosecutors, Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)