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What is evidence contamination?

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2023 | blog, Criminal Defense

Criminal investigation fields remain populated by humans, which means that human mistakes can and do happen.

This can come in the form of the contamination of important evidence. Contamination may occur at any step in the investigation process, by any number of people.

Contamination of DNA evidence

This is one of the bigger focal points when it comes to the discussion of the contamination of DNA evidence. The National Institute of Justice discusses the best ways for laboratory workers to avoid the possibility of contaminating DNA samples.

These rules intend to stop the most common types of DNA contamination. This includes touching the DNA without gloves, touching the area of the DNA, not changing gloves regularly, not throwing away disposable tools, not air-drying evidence before packing, and coughing, sneezing or talking around the DNA.

Unfortunately, transportation and storage can also contaminate DNA. Always keep evidence labeled, sealed and protected from heat or moisture. Label all bags and treat them appropriately depending on the material within.

Understanding the chain of command

In order to keep good track of where evidence goes and who handles DNA samples, it is important to establish a recorded chain of command. This will show exactly where things go wrong, if they do. It can prove a major asset in cases where the potential for intentional sabotage exists.

Fair trials serve as an important cornerstone of the justice system in the United States. Thus, it is important to combat any possibility of potentially intentional tampering and not allow it to come to incorrect convictions.