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Chain of Custody Questions

The chain of custody is a written account of all the individuals that had or kept control over any of the items in evidence. This written record is witnessed and serves as proof that evidence is original. The chain of custody is important because the items of evidence collected at the crime scene need to be verified that they were not changed from its original state until they are presented in a court of law. Read below to find Expert answers pertaining to chain of custody questions.

What are the chain of custody procedures?

The chain of custody requires that from the instance that evidence is collected, every hand off of the evidence from person to person is documented. This must be provable that no other individual has gained access to the evidence. Chain of custody is required because more likely a trial for the crime will take place months after the evidence is collected from that crime. Most of the time, when a crime occurs police will tag, catalogue and store the evidence to be used a trial. When an officer is called to testify at trial, they must be able to validate the evidence in order for it to be admissible in court. This authentication that the officer is making states that the evidence is as it is proposed to be.

Is there a statute of limitations regarding inadequacy of the chain of custody?

A statute of limitations can apply to prevent charges from going forward. This will depend upon the statute of limitations for each particular offense. For example if the statute of limitations for an offense was one year, and the prosecution tries to bring the case after two years, then an individual could try to impede the case by invoking the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations can keep the government from prosecution if the offense happened long ago where the statute of limitations would run out. But there is no statute of limitation that would apply specifically to chain of custody.

If the chain of custody is missing a date and time stamp, is it still valid?

Most law enforcement agencies have stated that chain of custody procedures must be followed or they risk defense attorneys having the evidence suppressed.

In the event that a piece of evidence is not time stamped, an authentic chain of command will be laid out. This will be done by gathering testimony from those who have handled it, along with documents including arrest reports, citations, hospital records, lab reports etc. The trial judge is the final decider on whether to include or exclude any evidence.

Having the right information and knowledge of how the chain of custody procedures work can help when dealing with chain of custody issues. Experts can help answer the importance of chain of command along with the proper procedures for chain of command. Get the answers fast and affordably by asking an Expert.
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