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Why chain of custody matters in evidence documentation

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Maintaining a clear chain of custody for evidence documentation is important in law enforcement and legal proceedings. The chain of custody refers to the chronological documentation of the handling, transfer and storage of evidence from the moment it undergoes collection until it comes into play in court.

This meticulous documentation ensures the integrity and reliability of the evidence. It also helps safeguard its admissibility in legal proceedings.

Preserving the integrity of evidence

A robust chain of custody seeks to preserve the integrity of evidence used in court. It does so by establishing a clear record of its whereabouts and handling at all times. Each person who comes into contact with the evidence must document his or her actions as far as receipt, storage and transfer. This level of documentation minimizes the risk of tampering, contamination or loss. Thus, it maintains the credibility of the evidence and ensures its reliability in court.

Ensuring admissibility in legal proceedings

In legal proceedings, presented evidence must meet certain criteria to be admissible in court. A key requirement is the establishment of a proper chain of custody. Without a documented chain of custody, opposing parties may be able to question the authenticity and reliability of the evidence. Courts rely on a clear and unbroken chain of custody to determine the credibility of evidence and its relevance to the case at hand.

Without a proper chain of custody, evidence presented in court proceedings may be unreliable. As a result, it could potentially jeopardize the outcome of a case.