2 Chain of Custody refers to the documentation of who had possession of the evidence, from the time of collection to the time of analysis and beyond.
3 WHEN DISCUSSING CHAIN OF CUSTODY PROCEDURES, EVIDENCE HANDLING, EVIDENCE PRESERVATION, AND EVIDENCE PACKAGING AND SEALING MUST ALSO BE INCLUDED IN THAT DISCUSSION.
4 What we are trying to do, is to maintain the integrity of the evidence What we are trying to do, is to maintain the integrity of the evidence. This means, we can demonstrate to the COURT that the evidence collected, was the evidence tested and reported. i.e no change, no contamination, no replacement, etc. occurred.
5 Continuity of possession Every person who handled or examined evidence must be accounted forStarting from the crime scene, it is critical to mark evidence, package it correctly, mark packages, ensure proper seals, record the chain of possession, preserve evidence , keep an internal chain.
6 Key Components of Proper Evidence Control Chain of custody record (minimum)Signature of person receiving evidenceDate of receipt or transferDescription of evidenceProper marking of evidenceEvidence sealsSecure area for evidence storage.
7 Evidence Packaging To Prevent Contamination Loss Deterioration Appropriate To ObjectLabeled For Identification
8 Evidence Sealing Apply Tape Seal across all openings EAM 02/19/03Apply Tape Seal across all openingsInitial and Date Seal
20 Items (non evidence) where you might follow Chain of Custody Principles Case record --- File folderPersonnel file
21 Your case recordIs it important to maintain the integrity of the contents of the file?How do you know you have a complete file?
22 Personnel FilesIs it important to maintain the integrity of a personnel file?How might that be accomplished?Rules about accesstrackingHow do you know the file hasn’t been tampered with?
23 Poor Chain of custody and poor preservation procedures can cause other problems Quality control retest of item results in inconsistent resultsDefense testing shows NO RESULTS and then argues that the analyst didn’t analyze the same item.Post conviction testing results in different results….subject released from jail.
24 Role of DefenseDetermine if the item that was tested and implicates the suspect, was in fact the item “found in his/her possession”.Item mix-upSomeone replaced the itemTry to establish that the item might have been contaminated between the time item confiscated/collected to the time testedTry to establish that the evidence could have changed in some way because of improper storage
25 Role of Defense (con’t) Try to suggest that during testing, the analyst mixed-up samplesThat the analyst took the reference sample and analyzed it twice, marking one of them the questioned itemThat the examiner mismarked evidence that looked similar to other items.That the questioned item was contaminated with the reference sample’s marker (as in DNA)
26 Role of the DefenseTry to suggest that someone else had access to the evidence while it was in the process of being analyzed.Try to determine if another analyst actually did part of the testing of the item.Show that sloppy record keeping means sloppy work……..
27 Questions for the Crime Scene investigator or evidence collector. Were precautions taken not to contaminate the evidence?How do you know that item marked item 1, is in fact item 1 as it has been identified in court.Did you properly preserve the evidence…If yes, how?Do you know who took possession of the evidence after you collected it?
28 Questions for Evidence Technician Was the evidence received sealed?If it wasn’t, did you sealed it ?Did you document your actions?Did the evidence have the proper chain of custody documentation?Is there any question that the evidence was not preserved properly? (lengthy possession by person transporting the evidence).If there is a question, did you document your follow-up actions?
29 Questions in Court for the analyst (you are handed a piece of evidence). Is this the evidence you analyzed?How do you know that it is?While the evidence was in your custody, did you preserve it properly?How can you be sure no one else tampered with your evidence?If this item was reanalyzed today by another laboratory, would they obtain the same result as you?
30 Proper Chain of Custody System must have: Written proceduresAppropriate suppliesProper TrainingAppropriate facilitiesFeedback systemMethod to improve system
31 Proper Chain of Custory Procedures must include: Proper collection proceduresMarking of evidence or packagingSEAL package properlyRecord of everyone one who has possessionPreserve and secure evidenceInternal Chain of Custody documentation followed after testing and reports written.
33 Testing UnitSealed?ChainPreservationSecurityAnalystAdditional notesAnalysis in process
34 Testing Unit EvidenceroomChainSealPreservationSecuritytransportSealed?Additional notesCourtSealed
35 How to Improve Evidence Handling System More comprehensive written procedures to include evidence handling, sealing, and preservation proceduresTraining on proper evidence handling and preservation procedures – to all personnel involved in evidence handlingStandardize evidence collection suppliesAudits/accreditation
36 ASSIGNMENT In groups of 2-3, complete the following activity: There is a gang related stabbing at a local restaurant. Several people are stabbed, but only one dies. Police arrive before the suspects can escape. They confiscate six different knives from six different suspects. All of the knives are similar. Police package the knives individually and transport them to the lab. The knives are all analyzed. Only one of the knives has the blood of the deceased on it.
37 ASSIGNMENTThoroughly answer the following questions on your own paper:What did police do correctly?What did police do incorrectly?What problems might arise in prosecuting this case?If you were the defense attorney, how would you defend your client?
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