CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

A Case for Animation: A Study of the Use of Forensic Multimedia in the Courtroom

Date of Award

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Timothy Ellis

Abstract

Forensic multimedia is the specific term for computer simulation and computer animation presented as evidence in a court of law. Since its first use in the courtroom in the early 1990's, many high profile legal teams have used forensic multimedia to present arguments to reproduce an occurrence of events. Since that time, significant literature has been written on the use of forensic multimedia in the courtroom specifically targeted “towards the legal aspects of inclusion of the media as evidence, and rules and regulations about its admissibility. Special courtrooms have been developed to facilitate the use of multimedia, yet there has been no published research on the subject of the capabilities of lawyers to understand the process and address the educational aspects of the medium. The author's goal for this dissertation was the evaluation of the use of forensic multimedia in the greater Atlanta legal community. The study includes research on the use of forensic multimedia in the target area, a usability evaluation of a forensic multimedia product, a survey of southern US law school curricula as to the inclusion of forensic multimedia conceptual training in the programs, and a survey of the capabilities of lawyers in the target area as to their understanding of the multimedia process and use of forensic multimedia in the courtroom.

Results of the research indicate a lack of formal education by law schools in the concepts and use of forensic multimedia. A survey of legal professionals confirms that lawyers are unfamiliar with the components and methodologies of use of the media. In addition, usability research of forensic multimedia software indicates areas for usability improvement.

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