Chain of Custody Processing

This week, you examined the process of locating and documenting evidence at a crime scene. Pieces of evidence pass through many hands between the crime scene and the courtroom. Properly managing the evidence throughout the entire process is critical.

Describe what is meant by “chain of custody” and why it is important to an investigation.
Provide an example to show how improper custody can damage a case. (Hint: Put yourself in the position of the defense attorney.)
Improper custody can certainly impair or even destroy an investigation. Is the insistence on chain of custody in the best interests of justice? Should valuable physical evidence be excluded from a case, solely due to improper custody? What might happen if the chain-of-custody requirement is removed? Explain and justify your position.

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