Today, Attorney General
"Expanding our in-house computer forensic lab and adding a mobile lab for use at crime scenes around the commonwealth is going to reduce evidence-gathering times and vastly increase our ability to prosecute more Internet child predators and child pornographers. What's disheartening is that there has been a backlog of these cases because there just aren't enough computer forensic analysts around the state to handle them. Increasing our capacity is one way I'm trying to eliminate that backlog and get these predators prosecuted and out of our communities," said Cuccinelli.
Before this latest expansion, Cuccinelli's Computer Crime Section had already increased its convictions by 77 percent since the attorney general arrived in 2010 (from 13 in 2009 to 23 in 2012). Cuccinelli reorganized staff and mandated they more actively reach out to local law enforcement to offer assistance in gathering and analyzing computer evidence. As a result, over the last three years, he has increased the office's ability to find and prosecute Internet child predators and child pornographers. The Computer Crime Section now averages two to three convictions each month - the highest rate in the office's history.
In 2012, the attorney general added three computer forensic analyststo the team of three prosecutors to help the attorneys comb through computers; cell phones; and external computer media such as CDs, DVDs, and flash drives to find evidence. The attorney general also charged his Computer Crime team with reaching out to local law enforcement, offering their forensic and prosecutorial expertise, especially to smaller localities that do not necessarily have staff who deal with Internet crimes on a regular basis. A lack of forensic analysts in local law enforcement has caused a backlog of computers waiting to be searched for evidence, and the team's outreach to local law enforcement has helped alleviate some of that backlog. In its first 12 months of operation, the three computer forensic analysts handled 48 cases in 23 separate jurisdictions across the commonwealth. That number is expected to increase as the capabilities of the team expand and more localities call on the attorney general's office for help. The team now travels extensively throughout the commonwealth to investigate and prosecute crimes. They also train local prosecutors and law enforcement at conferences and police academies statewide. The attorneys are also cross-designated as Special Assistant United States Attorneys and prosecute cases in federal as well as state courts.
From the outset of Cuccinelli's tenure in
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