Chain of Custody

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Chain of Custody refers to the chronological documentation or paper trail, showing the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of evidence, physical or electronic. Because evidence can be used in court to convict persons of crimes it must be handled in a scrupulously careful manner to avoid later allegations of tampering or misconduct which can compromise the case of the prosecution toward acquittal or to overturning a guilty verdict upon appeal.

I found a case online where the chain of custody was challenged, case number 09-5446 United States v. Knowles where the he was convicted for sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of materials involving the sexual exploitation of a minor. On May 8, 2007 Knowles was indicted for sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor by a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

At the trial Tiffany Mosley testified that at the time of the incidents involved the Defendant was both her boyfriend and her brother as they have the same father. He lived with her and her four children at their residence in Memphis, Tennessee from 2004 to 2007. The victim in this case was one of Ms. Mosley’s daughters she was between 11 and 12 years old at the time of the offenses. On Easter Sunday, 2007 Ms. Mosley found a camcorder containing a videotape that belonged to the Defendant in the glove compartment of the Tacoma truck that she shared with the Defendant, as she watched the video she saw an adult female that she knew in a hotel room in the nude as she continued to watch the videotape she saw images of her daughter wearing only a white shirt and socks. The video showed the hand of an adult male touching her daughter vagina and the voice of the Defendant she also was able to identify the location of the taping as her living room.

In the cases Ms. Mosley made a copy of the video tape and the FBI also made a copy...
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