When a crime occurs, law enforcement relies on a crime scene investigation team to immediately arrive, cautiously collect evidence, and build a case. Whether it’s forensics, photographs, or eyewitness statements, law enforcement must comply with an extremely strict protocol in order to preserve a crime scene and obtain all of the necessary evidence. Human error always factors into a crime scene investigation and many federal cases are won and lost depending on the collection process and the evidence recorded from a crime scene.
Although there are several blunders that can transpire by crime scene investigators, in this two-part article, the attorneys at The Rickman Law Firm will discuss some of the primary ways that crime scene professionals make critical mistakes that negatively impact a case for a defendant. Remember, if you have been accused of a federal crime, you require an experienced federal criminal defense attorney in Tampa.
The first step to a crime scene investigation is to preserve the crime scene. Police officers arrive and immediately establish a perimeter roping off areas and determining what law enforcement officials need to enter the crime scene. Because every crime scene is different, officers will also need to address any immediate concerns and ensure that the area is secure in order for forensic experts, detectives, and other crime scene experts to enter the area.
Preserving a crime scene presents many challenges. Although officers are required to act quickly, ensure that the area is secure, and make certain that only the appropriate professionals have access, they must not act hastily and accidentally contaminate or destroy evidence in the process. If evidence was compromised by investigation procedures, an experienced federal defense lawyer in Tampa will have it expunged from the case.
There are a wide variety of ways that law enforcement can contaminate a crime scene. When arriving at the scene of the crime, the officers may need to apprehend a suspect or first responders may rush a victim to the hospital. Eyewitnesses or third party individuals are often already at the scene of the crime altering the area before police arrive. From wearing the proper crime scene equipment (gloves, shoe covers, goggles) to ensuring only the proper credentialed professionals are allowed entry to accurately document all of the evidence, crime scene investigators require the utmost precision in order to successfully perform their tasks. However, it’s not uncommon that these tasks are not executed perfectly during the investigation process.
If you are interested in learning more about how crime scene procedures fail, please read the second section of this article.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.