Chain of Custody Example

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Evidence is a key requisite for proving that an individual has committed a crime in violation of the law.  Due to the nature of the importance of evidence, the Chain of Custody has been defined to help protect the integrity of the evidence that has been collected as well as to ensure the appropriate admissibility of that evidence in a court of law (FederalEvidence, 2011).  The Chain of Custody refers to the chronological documentation of the evidence showing the initial seizure of the evidence and the point in time and method by which it entered police custody.  Details must be provided as to the time, place and specific police officer who collected the evidence and placed it in police custody.  Furthermore, any changes in possession or movement of the evidence from person-to-person or place-to-place must also be documented in order to show that there was no opportunity whereby someone could have tampered with the evidence or handled it in an un-careful manner which may have tarnished the integrity of the evidence (FederalEvidence, 2011).

If the Chain of Custody is not properly performed, the defendant has the right to call into question the admissibility of the evidence.  If the court rules that the Chain of Custody has been broken, the admissibility of the evidence in question may be denied and no longer used at any point throughout the trial.  Furthermore, committed criminals can also use the Chain of Custody for use in appealing the court’s ruling if evidence was used during the trial that should not have been admissible in the first place.  In addition to potentially altering the verdict within a case, the police officers found guilty of breaking the Chain of Custody can also face severe penalties including suspension or termination as members of the police force.  This can also grant appeals to other cases where the officer was a key contributor to the collection or movement of evidence.

Bibliography

FederalEvidence.com. (2011, December 1). Federal evidence. Retrieved from http://federalevidence.com/rules-of-evidence

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