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Physical Evidence in Criminal Investigation Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jun 2nd, 2021

Introduction

Crime investigation relies on the collection and analysis of many types of evidence. Some of the most important forms of physical proof are fingerprints, footprints, and paint, among others. On the other hand, biological facts come from bloodstains as well as DNA. The relevance of proof implies that it should approve or disprove some facts in a legal proceeding (Mueller, Kirkpatrick, & Richter, 2018). That notwithstanding, facts cannot be admissible if they are outweighed by their tendencies to cause finders to disapprove of the parties they are introduced against for unrelated reasons. In addition, for proof to be admissive in a court of law, an individual presenting it must demonstrate that its source links it to a crime (Granja & Rafael, 2017).

This assessment states and explains why evidence must be relevant to a case before a court and gives two items that would be irrelevant as proof. In addition, it provides three forensic databases in the United States as well as describes two different indices on the platform of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Relevance of Evidence

One of the most basic rules of evidence is its relevance to a case. If a judge determines that some facts are irrelevant, he or she must exclude them. In a case, for example, that concerns a bank robbery, witnesses should discuss the crime and not if banks are making unusual profits. If proof is relevant, it means that it has tendencies to make the existence of facts that are of consequence to the determination of actions more or less probable than it would be without the evidence (Mueller et al., 2018).

This statement incorporates two important requirements, which are material and probable value. The material necessity is associated with the consequence of finding out an action, while the probable value is linked to the chances of establishing the existence of facts. However, Rule 401 separates the previously utilized concepts in the relevance of proof in cases. Currently, the two requirements are stated independently (Mueller et al., 2018). Regardless of how the relevance of evidence is defined, it should always be understood that facts are not inherent features of items, but they show relations between materials of proof and matters that can be proved in a case.

Rules of evidence aim at regulating facts that a jury can utilize to make a verdict. However, although relevant evidence has relatively high chances of being allowed, not all applicable pieces of facts are admissible. Judges can exclude any pertinent evidence due to other rules of the justice system. For instance, if applicable proof is found to arouse judges’ emotions unfairly, then it may be determined to be inadmissible.

In such a legal situation, a jury is required to establish a balance between the significance of the facts and the risks of unfair appeals to feelings (Mueller et al., 2018). If judges establish that the consequences of unfair emotional appeals are more than relevant, then they would exclude the facts.

Rule 402 states that irrelevant facts cannot be admitted while relevant proof is admissible in courts of law unless other rules exclude them. In most cases, objected proof has little probative importance rather than absolute insignificance (Mueller et al., 2018). Such facts are properly argued against under Rule 403 that gives juries powers to exclude irrelevant pieces of information since they are a waste of time or contribute to the distraction of judges. That notwithstanding, for an individual to argue under Rule 403, he or she must articulate why particular facts have little or no significance (probative value) in a case (Edwards & Baker, 2017).

In addition, all arguments about relevance are founded on platforms of logic as well as common sense (Mueller et al., 2018). Relevant evidence helps judges to make good judgments, either by themselves or in combination with other pertinent facts.

Two Items of Evidence That Can Be Irrelevant

As explained above, the relevance of evidence is an important building block of rules that determine whether it would be admissible into courts. The connection between proof and a case may not be so strong that every item can singly prove or disprove a claim. Rather, the evidence is determined good and relevant in a case if it establishes a strong link in a series of items of facts. The two items that can be irrelevant and inadmissible in a court of law are shoe sizes and sole patterns as presented by a prosecution team or a defendant.

Evidence collected at a crime scene, for example, may indicate that the alleged offenders wore shoe size eight and the footwear typified by particular sole patterns. However, the arrested suspects may be found to wear shoe sizes in the range of ten to twelve. In such a legal scenario, even if their sole patterns match those presented by the prosecution, the evidence cannot be relevant since the footwear sizes do not have a strong link with what the suspects wear.

In other words, the evidence would be irrelevant since the suspects could not have put on shoe size eight, yet they wear sizes ten to twelve. In another example, a suspect may be arrested for allegedly committing a crime and footwear evidence supported by a sole pattern presented to a court. He wears shoes of size ten, all with a single sole pattern A, but the evidence shows that the footwear impression has pattern B (Mueller et al., 2018). In this situation, the evidence would be irrelevant since sole patterns do not match.

Forensic Databases

Whether maintained by the government or private firms, forensic databases go a long way in helping professionals in law enforcement and corrections to identify unknown persons (Buckleton, Bright, & Taylor, 2016; Granja & Rafael, 2017). The U.S National DNA Database System was founded by the FBI in 1994 to help compile and store genetic information. Suspects’ genetic profiles are searched in the database to determine their identity. It is supported by an array of software programs and communication instruments for comparing data gathered from various sources. TreadMark is a forensic catalog that assists law enforcers in identifying unknown individuals at crime scenes based upon shoe prints.

This database helps to reduce the time spent in analyzing footwear impressions, which could be so large at scenes. In this context, impressions are gathered using updated techniques such as photography and adhesive lift. Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) is a database that compares bullet and cartridge casings used at crime scenes against those whose information is compiled and stored (Buckleton et al., 2016). The information assists in knowing the firearm holders when a crime is committed.

The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)

One of the CODIS indices that handle offenders’ information that is important in identifying unknown people who are alleged to commit crimes is the offender index. This computerized catalog stores DNA profiles of persons found guilty of crimes in the U.S.A. It works by helping law enforcers to match suspects’ DNA information to that compiled and stored. Once a match to an offender is determined on the database based upon DNA profile searches, his or her name is submitted to a specific laboratory that made the request. This information is relied upon in courts of law as admissible evidence.

The forensic index of the CODIS database stores other pieces of proof collected at crime scenes, such as the body or clothing associated with a victim, the body or clothing linked to suspects, and collected items. Laboratories providing such information must give an assurance that it is associated with a crime or crime (Buckleton et al., 2016). This index works by providing a match of the entered information against that stored in the catalog.

Conclusion

This assessment has determined that evidence is an important component of legal proceedings on which a jury relies to make a judgment. Although a prosecution team and lawyers representing the accused may produce various forms of evidence in a court of law, judges have the discretion to decide what to classify as admissible. If facts are relevant, they can be admissible in a court of law, while irrelevant proof is inadmissible.

Two items that can be irrelevant in legal proceedings are shoe sizes and sole patterns when logical connections are not established. Three of the databases that help law enforcers and corrections to identify unknown persons linked to crimes are the U.S National DNA Database System, TreadMark, and IBIS. Finally, this assessment has established that the CODIS database has offender and forensic indices that assist the classification of convicted criminals’ DNA profiles and items gathered at crime scenes, respectively.

References

Buckleton, J. S., Bright, J. A., & Taylor, D. (Eds.). (2016). Forensic DNA evidence interpretation (2nd ed.). New York, NY: CRC Press.

Edwards, K., & Baker, B. (2017). When tendency evidence will have significant probative value. The Journal of the NSW Bar Association, 6(17), 45-54.

Granja, F. M., & Rafael, G. D. R. (2017). The preservation of digital evidence and its admissibility in the court. International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, 9(1), 1-18.

Mueller, C. B., Kirkpatrick, L. C., & Richter, L. L. (2018). Evidence under the rules: Text, cases, and problems (9th ed.). New York, NY: Aspen Publishers.

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