The Dallas County District Attorney's Office has opened a new digital forensics lab, which is the first of its kind in North Texas. The lab focuses on technology like analyzing cell phones, computers and other digital media.
In the past, all digital evidence from Dallas County had to be sent out to the FBI or U.S. Secret Service to be analyzed, and it meant waiting in line behind other cases. Now, that digital evidence can be analyzed in the forensic lab at the Frank Crowley Courts Building, allowing many cases to get to trial faster.
"Numerous times prosecutors had to reset cases for trial because the forensic examinations on the evidence had not been conducted, essentially costing the county and tax payers money," said Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in a press release. "The new digital forensics lab housed in the Dallas DA's office will help expedite the process of getting cases to trial, getting the accused to take responsibility or even exonerating the wrongfully convicted."
On Monday, NBC 5 got a first-hand look inside the new lab, and Tommy Hutson, director of technology for the district attorney’s office, discussed what they can now examine. He used a case of a home break-in as an example.
"If we get the computer of those people after it happens, we can show that, look, this person actually Googled this exact same address. They looked at the street view of the same address. They talked on their cell phone while they were in front of that address," said Hutson.