When flawed forensic evidence gets into court, the integrity of the criminal justice system becomes questionable. One place where forensic evidence can be exposed to bias and errors is the lab – the crimelab.
Crime labs are like any other scientific laboratories but differ only in purpose or use of results. A crime lab processes crime scene evidence to determine who the offender is, the nature of the crime and produces the proof of innocence or guilt of suspects in a criminal case.
Objectivity in evidence analysis and interpretation is another distinctive feature of crime labs. When evidence, say a blood swab from the crime scene is brought into a crimelab, the lab scientists or technologists may never have to know from whom and where the DNA evidence came from. It is not their business, and even if they knew, they cannot state that knowledge in the lab report which would be presented in court.
Forensic scientists who provide forensic expert analyses and interpretations of evidential materials should be free from sentiments and put bias at arm’s length, no matter the personalities involved or interest in the case. That is what brilliant lawyers should watch out for. The credibility and integrity of forensic analytic process should be maintained at all times.
Another important feature of crime labs is strict compliance with quality standards and protocols. One of the quickest and easiest ways to discredit forensic evidence in courts is the answer to the following questions;
1. Were standard protocols followed in the processing and analysis of this digital evidence?
2. Was the standard packaging material used at the recovery of the evidential sample from the crime scene?
3. Is it possible that this DNA (blood) evidence couldn’t have been contaminated from recovery at the crime scene through processing to final result?
If yes, is it not possible that this evidence tendered as proof of my client’s linkage to the crime is faulty?