Digital Evidence Expert Justin Fitzsimmons Joins High-Tech Crime Training Services Team

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Justin Fitzsimmons
Mr. Justin Fitzsimmons joined the SEARCH High-Tech Crime Training Services team on November 5 as a High-Tech Crime Research Specialist. His initial efforts for SEARCH will focus on a national research effort to determine the current capabilities of law enforcement to investigate crimes with digital evidence and make recommendations to decision-makers regarding resources that can be provided to assist law enforcement with digital evidence.

In his new position with SEARCH, Mr. Fitzsimmons will conduct research, prepare white papers, and provide assistance and instructional services to justice, public safety, and homeland security agencies across the country—particularly in the area of digital evidence investigations.

Furthermore, Mr. Fitzsimmons will use his prosecutorial expertise in working with digital evidence to assist law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. He will make presentations at conferences and trainings throughout the country and participate on advisory committees and task forces. He will also support agencies, courts, and jurisdictions as they create and implement effective procedures, practices, and technology applications that seek to combat high-tech crime and recover digital evidence. This includes helping to research and incorporate legal, policy, and regulatory issues.

"Crimes that involve digital evidence are no longer a specialty focus of law enforcement," noted Mr. Tim Lott, Director of SEARCH's High-Tech Crime Training Services. "As digital devices become more prevalent in our everyday life, their capacity to contain evidence in crimes that happen every day is prolific.

"Justin's body of knowledge and experience allows SEARCH to provide the nation's law enforcement with information on what is needed to successfully prosecute these crimes. Additionally, his insight on crimes with digital evidence will be instrumental on the research effort to determine the capabilities of the law enforcement to investigate crimes with digital evidence."

Mr. Fitzsimmons previously worked for the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), where he was Senior Attorney for NDAA's National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse beginning in June 2009. In this position, he responded to technical assistance requests for child sexual exploitation cases from prosecutors and law enforcement around the United States, designed and presented training seminars, and published articles on emerging technological issues in child sexual exploitation.

He also is a former prosecutor in Illinois, where he prosecuted cases involving sexual exploitation and digital evidence for State's Attorney's Offices in two counties from 1998-2009, and prior to that was a legal assistant in an Illinois law firm for 3 years. During his legal career—
  • He was an Assistant State's Attorney (ASA) for the Kane County State's Attorney's Office for 5 years. He supervised the Special Prosecution Unit, responsible for investigating and prosecuting felony cases, including Internet crimes against children. He was also assigned to a Child Advocacy Center team that investigated and prosecuted cases of severe physical and sexual abuse against children, crimes of Internet solicitation of children, and child pornography.
  • He taught classes to police departments and other prosecutors on electronic evidence collection, and updated local law enforcement officials on changes to Illinois sex offender registration laws.
  • As an ASA for the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office for 6 years, he worked in the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, handling hundreds of complex felony cases. His last position was in the Felony Domestic Violence Unit, prosecuting child and adult physical and sexual abuse cases, child pornography, and indecent solicitation of children.
  • As a legal assistant for Fitzsimmons, Roberts & Paine, he drafted appellate briefs for the Illinois Supreme Court and Second District Court of Appeals, among other tasks.

Mr. Fitzsimmons frequently presents and teaches at international, national and regional conferences, workshops, webinars and training courses on a wide range of topics dealing with digital evidence, computer forensics, crimes against children, cybercrime (including cyber bulling and child exploitation), and human trafficking. He has served as a trainer for SEARCH's 3-day Peer to Peer Investigations course at sites nationwide. He has published articles on digital evidence authentication, computer forensics for prosecutors, child sexual exploitation, and more. In addition, he has drafted legislation that was signed into law in Illinois on several technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation issues in 2006 through 2008.

Mr. Fitzsimmons is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology's Chicago-Kent College of Law and earned a bachelor's degree from Wittenberg University in Ohio.