Considerations after collection of physical evidence
CONSIDERATIONS AFTER COLLECTIONOF EVIDENCEChain of CustodyStandard/Reference SamplesSubmission of Evidence
CONTINUITY OF POSSESSION Continuity of possession, or the chain ofcustody, must be established wheneverevidence is presented in court as an exhibit.This means that every person who handled orexamined the evidence must be accounted for.Failure to substantiate the evidence’s chain ofcustody may lead to serious questionsregarding the authenticity and integrity of theevidence and the examinations of it.
CONTINUITY OF POSSESSIONRecord where evidence was locatedMake sure evidence is marked foridentification, either on the evidence itself, oron the packaging.Make sure all submission forms are filled outproperly and completely.
CONTINUITY OF POSSESSION All items of physical evidence should be carefullypackaged and marked upon their retrieval at crimescenes. If possible, the evidence itself should be marked foridentification. Normally, the collectors initials andthe date of collection are inscribed directly on thearticle. Where appropriate, evidence should be tagged foridentification (such as firearms).
CONTINUITY OF POSSESSION Once and evidence container is selected for theevidence, it too, must be marked for identification. A MINIMUM record would show the collector’sinitials, location of the evidence, and date ofcollection. If the evidence is turned over to anotherindividual for care or delivery to the laboratory, thistransfer must be recorded in notes and otherappropriate forms. Every individual who at any time possesses theevidence must maintain a written record of itsacquisition and disposition.
CONTINUITY OF POSSESSIONFrequently, all of the individualsinvolved in the collection andtransportation of the evidence maybe requested to testify in court. Toavoid confusion and to retaincomplete control of the evidence atall times, the chain of custodyshould be kept to a minimum.