Preguntas más frecuentes en el manejo de evidencias

What are some best practices for storing and handling evidence? Improper evidence handling and storage can not only damage the evidence, rendering it worthless, but also leave the evidence inadmissible in court. Storage rooms need to be mindful of security and safety when storing illegal substances, money, and dangerous materials such as firearms. Storage rooms need specific policies for everything from returning evidence to its rightful owner to purging old evidence to taking regular inventory. See the Property Standards developed by the International Association for Property and Evidence (IAPE) for sample policies and guidelines for the best procedures used in property storage rooms. Top What is the best way to preserve the chain of custody when handling evidence? Preserving the chain of custody is important because it maintains the integrity of the evidence. Whenever a person comes in contact with a piece of evidence, the contact must be documented to prove that the evidence was always accounted for and that no one tampered with it. If the chain of custody is ever broken, the admissibility of the evidence becomes more difficult in court. Proper documentation is necessary when dealing with evidence. See a model policy created by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) National Law Enforcement Policy Center. Top How have states dealt with storage problems arising from limited space? An effective purging system can keep the inventory level of a property room manageable. See the IAPE article, Purging for Fun and for Profit, printed in their publication Evidence Log for information on how to establish a successful method for purging old and unnecessary evidence. If space continues to be a problem, maximizing the existing space in the storage room can resolve the issue. Sergeant Joseph Sylvanus’s article “The Storage Alternative” discusses the implementation and effectiveness of installing movable shelves in the evidence room. Top
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What are the best practices for handling computers and electronic evidence to maintain admissibility? People handling computer evidence need to adhere to chain-of-custody rules just like people who handle any other type of evidence. The Secret Service has published a guide, Best Practices for Seizing Electronic Evidence, to ensure the integrity of seized data. In addition, the Pueblo High-Tech Crimes Unit has published a list of necessary protocols for handling digital evidence to ensure its admissibility and integrity. Top What are the state laws on databases for and handling of DNA evidence? See the FBI’s chart of qualifying offenses identified from federal and state DNA database laws for information on what convictions will require a criminal to submit a DNA sample for the database. To read the specific laws authorizing the collection and storage of DNA evidence, see the code provisions for Alabama through Montana and Nebraska through Wyoming. Proper storage and handling of the actual evidence is imperative because of the trace amounts of evidence used and their sensitive nature. For guidelines on how to collect, handle, store, and ship DNA evidence, look at Appendix A in Dr. Kimberly Lonsway’s article “DNA Evidence and Issues.” Top Contact the Knowledge & Information Service Office with inquiries or requests for any resources regarding Storage and Handling of EvidenceInformation Request Form 1-800-616-6164 Last Modified: June 23, 2003Copyright 2003 – The National Center for State Courts. All rights reserved.

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