Marshall professor creates group to educate on digital evidence

John Sammons, an assistant professor in Marshall's Integrated Science and Technology department, said the Appalachian Institute of Digital Evidence was started to serve as a resource to deal with digital evidence in both civil and criminal litigation. (Photo by Kyla Asbury)

HUNTINGTON -- Technology is constantly changing, and one organization at Marshall University is striving to help the legal community keep up with this change when it comes to evidence.

John Sammons, an assistant professor in Marshall's Integrated Science and Technology department, said the Appalachian Institute of Digital Evidence was started to serve as a resource to deal with digital evidence in both civil and criminal litigation.

"We saw a need for this type of organization because the law is behind in technology," Sammons said. "They need the training and a better understanding of how digital evidence works."

Digital evidence can deal with anything in technology, Sammons said, including cell phones computers, flash drives and networks.

"Part of the challenge with digital evidence is that technology is always changing," he said. "We have to be able to keep pace with the criminals."

The not-for-profit organization's goal is to help both professionals and students to survive and excel in this changing environment, Sammons said.

Sammons, who started out as a Huntington police officer, was able to bring together his interests in law and technology with this program and help others.

"I'm hoping the AIDE will eventually be able to expand on a regional scale," Sammons said. "It is amazing what the possibilities are when it comes to technology and digital evidence and everyone can benefit from the organization."

Sammons said technology is everywhere and the AIDE was created to help educate professionals and students on this ever changing area.

"The criminals are getting smarter," he said. "We need to be able to keep up with them."

The AIDE is comprised of four sub-groups: Digital Forensics, Electronic Discovery, Law Enforcement and Network Security.

The first annual AIDE Conference will be held at Marshall University's Forensic Science Center for four days beginning July 27. Each day will focus on one of the AIDE's four sub-groups.

Tuition for the event is free, but registration is required. For more information, contact Sammons at 304-696-7241 or visit http://aide.marshall.edu.

Sponsor for the event include Jackson Kelly Attorneys at Law, AccessData, Second Creek Technologies, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, Marshall University Department of Integrated Science & Technology and Marshall University Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology.

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