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In this two-part series, a murder defense attorney in Tampa is discussing how human error factors into crime scene investigations conducted by law enforcement. In the first part, we discussed the challenges required for law enforcement to preserve a crime scene and ensure that evidence is not contaminated during the collection process. In this section, we will discuss the urgent nature of collecting evidence and how mismanagement can impact the results of an investigation.
When detectives and forensic experts are called to a crime scene, they have a very short window of time to capture real-time evidence. For example, the lighting at the time of the incident (nighttime, daytime, early evening, or early morning) can impact the photographic evidence collected during the investigation. Crime scene professionals need to photograph and collect evidence without being disrupted so conjecture doesn’t factor into the case. Another issue is ensuring that all of the evidence has been collected and properly recorded before the crime scene has been released. If law enforcement prematurely releases the crime scene before all of the evidence was properly collected and recorded, this can directly impact a case.
There are many roles involved in a crime scene investigation including police officers, detectives, criminologists, ballistic and firearm experts, crime lab scientists, toxicologists, pathologists, and odontologists, among many other professionals. If any of these professionals fail to properly communicate, this can impact a testimony or an entire investigation. With many different departments working together on a case, if evidence is not vigilantly documented, communication breakdowns and erroneous judgments can occur. A murder defense attorney in Tampa knows how to exploit these gaffes during a testimony.
It’s critical that a crime scene investigation team has a standard operating procedure that establishes the rules and regulations of an investigation. In addition, these procedures need to be audited to ensure that they are being appropriately followed. Like any set of standard operating procedures, there is trial and error and even crime scene experts can make a mistake. An experienced murder defense lawyer in Tampa can analyze the findings from an investigation and determine if crime scene investigators failed to preserve the crime scene, contaminated evidence, or breached standard operating procedure.
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.