When evidence is improperly stored, it can have serious consequences in court. The admissibility and weight of the evidence can be challenged, and the outcome of the entire trial can be affected.
The defense attorney may argue for a “motion to suppress” where the evidence would be excluded from trial because of the unreliability of the evidence. This means it cannot be presented to the jury or considered in their decision-making process. This can significantly impact the prosecution's case, as it may weaken their argument or make it difficult to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Even if the evidence is not excluded, mishandled evidence can damage the prosecution's credibility and reduce the reliability of the evidence in the eyes of the jury. Improperly stored evidence can become contaminated with foreign DNA, bacteria, or other substances, which can affect the accuracy of any analysis performed on the evidence. For example, if blood evidence is not stored properly, it may become contaminated with bacteria that can break down the DNA and make it impossible to identify the source of the blood. The defense attorney can use this to cast doubt on the prosecution's case and argue for a not-guilty verdict.
Overall, proper storage and preservation of crime scene evidence is crucial for a successful criminal investigation and prosecution. It is essential to follow proper protocols and guidelines to uphold the integrity of the evidence. This is where forensic equipment comes into play, specifically drying cabinets.
Evidence drying cabinets are designed to provide a secure and dedicated area for drying wet evidentiary items while creating a barrier to keep out the potential threat of cross-contamination. The cabinet utilizes pre-filtration, HEPA, and carbon filtration to minimize the potential for environmental cross-contamination and employee exposure to putrid odors or biological material.
In some cases, improperly stored evidence may lead to wrongful convictions or acquittals, which can have significant consequences for the defendant and the criminal justice system as a whole. Inaccurate or unreliable evidence can result in innocent people being wrongly accused, convicted, and punished, while the real perpetrators remain free to commit more crimes.
Drying cabinets protect the chain of custody and ensure that evidence is upheld in the courtroom. The importance of safely storing wet evidentiary items goes beyond putting the culprit behind bars but helps in preventing the case from being appealed in the future.