Chain of Custody & Preservation of Evidence

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Chain of Custody & Preservation of Evidence
Idris Rawls
Westwood College

It does not matter the reputation you have earned for your high integrity and honesty, you will always be open to allegations of civil or criminal liability. The first type of evidence and usually the most obvious is physical evidence. Evidence can be anything from tangible objects such as cartridge cases and firearms to latent fingerprints and DNA. Evidence collection or recovery step in crime scene processing is the methods, techniques, and procedures used in retrieving evidence. Patience and care are very important at the crime scene. The criminalist should take the proper time and care in processing the scene. The work is tedious and time consuming.

It the criminalist responsibility to guarantee the integrity of the unbroken chain of custody from the very moment an item of evidence is found until it reaches its final destination at the evidence locker or the laboratory and then again when them item goes from one of those places to the courtroom. “No evidence can be introduced without a human’s testimony to make it part of trial. However, anyone who has no official business with an item of evidence should never handle it, or else the chain is broken. Once the chain has been broken, the integrity of the evidence will be in jeopardy (pp. 13).” On the card you will have written the case number, date and location of crime, time of discovery, location where you found the blood drop and that you found it.

According to Saferstein, R. (2011), “Latent evidence is evidence at a crime scene that cannot be seen with the eyes. Examples might be a blood stain that was bleached out, or semen stains that can't be seen without special lighting, or a fingerprint on an on even surface, such as a tree (pp. 400).” Saferstein, R. (2011), also argues that visible evidence are made when an object touches a surface after the ridges have been in contact with a colored material such as blood, paint grease, or ink, (pp. 400, para. 1).

According to Saferstein, R. (2011), the necessity for proper procedures to uphold evidence findings goes back to the property collection of the evidence; the chain of custody must be established whenever evidence is presented in court as exhibit. Adherence to standard procedures in recording the location of evidence, marking it for identification and properly completing evidence submission forms for laboratory analysis is the best guarantee that the evidence will withstand inquiries of what happened to it from the time of its findings to its presentation in court. This means that every person who has handled or examined the evidence must be accounted for. Failure to substantiate the evidence’s chain of custody may lead to serious question regarding the authenticity and integrity of the evidence and examination of it.

The case I choose to study was the JonBenet Ramsey case. The significant of the evidence in this case was very important. Accoriding to Lotter, K. (2009, January 1), “the police in Boulder, Colorado, allowed extensive contamination of the crime scene. Police first thought JonBenet had been kidnapped because of a ransom note found by her mother. For this reason, the police did not search the house until seven hours after the family called 911. The first-responding police officer was investigating the report of the kidnapping. The officer did not think to open the basement door, and so did not discover the murdered body of the girl Lotter, K. (2009, January).”

Lotter, K. (2009), also stated “the police blocked off JonBenet’s bedroom with yellow and black crime-scene tape to preserve evidence her kidnapper may have left behind. But they did not seal off the rest of the house, which was also part of the crime scene. Then the victim’s father, John Ramsey, discovered his daughter’s body in the basement of the home. He covered her body with a blanket and carried her to the living room. In doing so, he...
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