CRIMINAL EVIDENCE 6
Criminalevidence is any verbal or physical proof that is presented in a courtof law for the sole aim of proving a crime. Evidence can take manyforms and can be presented by either the plaintiff or defendant toprove their case (Khan,Buisman & Gosnell, 2010).Actions that are meant to conceal evidence are considered illegal andare known as spoliation of evidence by the police or the other sidein a court case. In all criminal proceedings, the burden of provingthat the defendant committed a given crime rest on the shoulders ofthe prosecution. There are two main types of evidence verbal andphysical evidence
Thisrefers to all tangible materials that are normally presented to thejury as an exhibit. It includes (Khan,Buisman & Gosnell, 2010):
DNAand blood samples
Illegalgoods such as drugs and drug money
Weaponsand other tools used to commit crime
Verbalform of evidence
Evidencedderived from wiretap and other digital technologies
Confessionmade by the accused
Textmaterials, for example, search warrant
Testimoniesfrom experts and witnesses.
Lawenforcement agencies employ the term ‘evidence` with specialconnotation since much of their work is focused on ensuring physicalevidence is usable in a proceeding. This means that even though lawenforcement officers know that witness constitutes important piece ofproof, they normally refer to evidence as the items collected at thescene of crime, in a suspect’s home or automobile, on a suspectlinked to the crime and contraband (Khan,Buisman & Gosnell, 2010).Also, evidence may mean items discovered during the investigation,such as shoe impressions, fingerprints, and plaster casts.
Whenitems of evidence are found, they are transported to the policestation, from where they are taken to the evidence room. In theevidence room, the items are logged and tagged. The tag on theevidence items bears the date of the booking, incident report number,the offense (crime), the pieces (number of items), the place andlocation from where the item was collected, the owner, and thesignature of the law enforcer who booked in the piece of evidence(Hails,2014).The room officer appends his/her signature in the piece of evidenceand the date that it was received. The piece of evidence is thendeposited in the evidence locker.
Thisevidence can only be checked out from the locker to the prosecutor,defense attorney, or be taken to a laboratory provided it remainsintact and as long as it it logged in and out every time that it isreleased for examination (Hails,2014).The last entry in the log is usually the release for the purpose oftaking it to the court. Nonetheless, some forms of evidence such asblood, drugs, and other substances, are weighed meticulously andcounted on the initial booking date and counted.
Allforms of criminal evidence are broadly categorized into eithercircumstantial or direct evidence. Direct evidence is one that issupposed to supply the prosecution with information that is accurateand true. In legal terms this evidence must be beyond a reasonabledoubt. For example, a photograph showing an accused personcommitting a crime (Hails,2014).Circumstantial evidence does not need to prove a theory but one thatprovides proof in support of the theory, for instance, a gun thatfits the description of witness testimony.
Forevidence to be accepted in a court of law, it must be logicallygermane, hold substance and be competent. For evidence to be germane,it must have a reasonable penchant to assist prove or disapprove afact (Gardner & Anderson, 2015). This does not mean that evidencehas to make a fact certain, but rather make a fact that is ofimportance less or more credible. Even though most evidence isaccepted for use during a criminal proceeding, the evidence ruleprevents particular types of evidence from being acceptable at trial(Gardner & Anderson, 2015). The constitution has granted theaccused certain rights that must be respected in order to ensure afair trial. One of the key rules is the exclusionary rule. This ruleexcludes some evidence perceived as untrustworthy and irrelevant,normally with the effect of nullifying a meritorious prosecution(Gardner & Anderson, 2015).
Theexclusionary rule is meant to suppress evidence that is acquiredthrough unreasonable searches and seizures. A search takes placewhen a government agent or law enforcers violate a reasonableexpectation of privacy (Gardner & Anderson, 2015). On the otherhand, a seizure is the meddling with an individual’s possessoryinterest in an asset. Government agents and law enforcers are onlypermitted to conduct search when only under the motivation ofindividualized suspicion. The Constitution (Forth amendement0 barsanyone from conducting generalized searches unless in an unexpectedstate of affairs that places the public in peril (Gardner &Anderson, 2015).
Theexclusionary rule gives permission to a defendant in a criminal caseto prevent the prosecution from introducing evidence that wasacquired through a process that violates the Constitution (Hails,2014).There are many exclusionary rules such as sanctions for failure tocomply with a nonconstitutional rule, the rule against hearsay, therule that forbid a witness from giving evidence if the calling partydid not disclose the witness prior the trial.
Khan,K. A. A., Buisman, C., & Gosnell, C. (2010). Principlesof evidence in international criminal justice.Oxford: Oxford University Press
Gardner,T. and Anderson, T. (2015). CriminalEvidence: Principles and Cases. Cengage Learning
Hails,J. (2014). Criminalevidence.Stamford, CT : Cengage Learning