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evidence and chain of custody

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#1 saracat


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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:45 PM

State of RI

could an alleged tampered bottle of a control substance (Liquid)from a medical facility still be considered admissible evidence if it was handled by more than four people,remained on the premises for 8 days in a "locked drawer" in an office than others have access to before it was picked up by the crime lab and then it was examined and processed in the wrong persons name on the wrong date? ,

#2 Fallen


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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

Any variation on "can" (such as "could") in the end is simply a matter of what is possible, however improbable. Only possible answer to question, as such, is "yes". (You don't say what "premises" but one presumes in law enforcement custody. Details matter, including something being "processed" and attributable to the "wrong" case. These are certainly data points that defense counsel would use to attack chain of custody and proper protocol.)

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)

#3 pg1067


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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:20 AM

Yes. There's a lot in your post, so it's necessary to look at each thing you said separately.

it was handled by more than four people

In the abstract, it doesn't matter how many people handled it. I think it would be uncommon for fewer than four people to handle something like this in any case.

remained on the premises for 8 days

What premises?

in a "locked drawer" in an office than [sic -- that?] others have access to before it was picked up by the crime lab

Without knowing what the "substance" is, it's impossible to know whether the eight days has any significance. If the drawer was locked, it hardly matters (at least for purposes of admissibility) that others had access to the office.

it was examined and processed in the wrong persons name on the wrong date?

I have no idea what "the wrong date" might mean in this context. Nor do I know what you mean by "examined and processed in the wrong person's name."

#4 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:24 AM

You may read the LawBrain: Chain of Custody article as a good resource to learn more about this subject matter.

#5 Legal_Balla



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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:33 PM

Quite possibly. Before chemical tests could be admissible, the prosecutor would need to establish the "chain of custody." This chain typically includes testimony from each person that handled the object. Each person is asked whether they tampered with the contents, or something similar. Each witness would then be subject to cross examination by the opposing party.

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