Essay on Crime Scene Evidence Handling

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Crime Scene Evidence Handling
Melissa Factor
CJ 498 Criminal Justice Capstone
Professor Rachel Goguen


Crime scene yellow tape is a well-known sight. In order to preserve the integrity of the evidence of a crime scene, human contact should be avoided. Crime scenes are immediately sealed off, preventing the public from seeing a gruesome sight as well as preventing anyone, including police officers and other investigators from trampling the crime scene and contaminating the evidence. Criminal prosecutions rely on evidence presented in a court of law so it is
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Today, more than ever, the quality of evidence in criminal cases is scrutinized because of contamination. Contamination is the introduction of something that physically corrupts a substance at a crime scene that was not previously there; it comes in many forms and most often times comes from the humans who investigate a crime scene. It is imperative that prevention of cross-contamination is implemented when gathering evidence. Several of the more sensitive forensic techniques such as trace analysis, bloodspatter interpretation, and DNA comparison are not being used to their fullest potential. Items of physical crime scene evidence are not always visible to the naked eye and may be easily overlooked so deliberate and methodical approach to collection and preservation of evidence is essential. Prosecutors have lost cases due to crime scene contamination; this could be prevented by simple and productive behaviors. The U.S. Supreme Court, in a leading case on physical evidence, stated: “Physical evidence cannot be wrong; it cannot perjure itself; it cannot be wholly absent. Only its interpretation can err. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it can diminish its value.” (Harris vs. United States, 1947).
A Question of Good Faith
A man abducted a ten year-old boy from a carnival, took him to a house and sexually assaulted him. The boy was later taken to a hospital by police. Tests were
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