Local lawyers benefit from popular devices

Money seized in local crimes is being recycled back into the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office, in the form of new iPads for the department’s prosecutors and paralegals.

Within the past couple of weeks, 25 iPad2s — which run for a little less than $400 apiece — were handed out and lawyers in the department are quickly discovering how ideally suited the tablet-style computers are to the job, according to District Attorney Pete Hautzinger.

He said the slim, mobile devices “make the most sense possible,” as his team of lawyers are constantly running from office to office, floor to floor, at the Mesa County Justice Center.

When Hautzinger first took office, he pressed the county Information Technology Department to wire each of the counsel tables with a hardline Internet connection, which happened in 2005.

Last year, he convinced them to set up a secure WiFi connection throughout the facility.

“My guys are all over this building, and the wired connections weren’t doing us a lot of good,” Hautzinger said.

Now, he said, lawyers can meet with newly arrested defendants, even in the jail area, and call up the criminal histories of everyone involved with their case right there.

Discovery for attorneys is solely electronic now as well, and iPads are designed to maximize document viewing, among other tasks.

Since courts require paper copies of digital media, Hautzinger’s office still uses traditional laptops with disk drives, which iPads don’t have. The department received new laptops recently as part of a county IT upgrade.

But as Hautzinger has been using a personal iPad for years, he saw the value in adding tablets to the office’s technological arsenal, so he went before the drug forfeiture board to ask for seized funds for the new iPads, as well as protective cases and Bluetooth keyboards for the 25 new tablets.


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