Evidence Chain of Custody
When evidence is taken by a police department, crime scene unit, or other individual, it is very important that the prosecution document every step that piece of evidence takes. The documentation that shows where a bit of evidence has been is called the chain of custody. It is a record of all of the individuals that have had physical possession of a piece of evidence.
While it may seem silly to document everyone who has handled a piece of evidence, it is crucial that these steps be taken. Without the documentation, the integrity of the chain of custody and, therefore, the evidence can be compromised. Maintaining the chain of custody is imperative for any bit of evidence whether that is a blood sample for drug testing, DNA samples, or even a button found at a crime scene.
In addition to maintaining the integrity of evidence, the chain of custody can help if a DNA or other sample is contaminated. The fingerprints and whatnot can be used to identify persons who have handled the evidence. If there are more fingerprints than people, this can be a bad thing.
When evidence does not have a complete chain of custody, it opens the door for the defense to attack the evidence as not being truly evidence anymore. In the event of a DNA or blood sample, a lack of chain of custody can spell doom for the prosecution.
Contact an Appleton Criminal Lawyer
For more information on the importance of a chain of custody for a piece of evidence and to discuss other ways of attacking a piece of evidence, contact the Appleton criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. at (414) 271-9595.