UnitVII Case Study: Crime Evidence
UnitVII Case Study: Crime Evidence
AssignmentB: Photographing a crime scene
Thepurpose of photographing the crime scene is to document items thatare available at the scene, where they are located in relation to agiven scene, and show the possibility of their connection to theunderlying crime. Therefore, the purpose of this procedure for crimescene photography is to outline and discuss the specific steps thatan individual who is expected to collect evidence in the form ofphotographs should follow in order to ensure that the evidence isadmissible and relevant to the underlying crime.
Thechain of custody is a chronological documentation should show howphotographs were seized, put in custody, controlled, transferred,analyzed, and disposed. The chain of custody should be guided by therule of relevance and the authenticity for the photographs to beadmissible in a competent court (Garland, 2011). The rule ofrelevance holds that photographs should have some connection or nexuswith the specific facts of the underlying case for them to beaccepted as part of the evidence by the court. Nude pictures areadmissible in case they will show useful evidence of some facts, suchas the extent of injuries. The rule of authenticity, on the otherhand, holds that an admissible photograph should be true and give anaccurate representation of the matter it purports to depict (Garland,2011). The level of accuracy may be proven by a witness. Thegruesomeness of the photography may not hinder the admissibility ofthe photos as long as they adhere to the rules of authenticity andrelevance.
Chainof custody: Chronology paper trail that shows the processes ofseizing, maintaining the custody, transferring, analyzing, anddisposing evidence.
Authentication:The accuracy with which a piece of evidence (including a photograph)gives an accurate and a true representation of the underlying matteror the scene.
Admissible:A source of evidence being accepted by the court as a support to anongoing case.
Relevance:A piece of evidence has a clear connection to the case or the actualincident that is being investigated.
Protectionof the crime scene ensures that the evidence is not disturbed, whichallow the investigator to collect accurate information. The firststep to take when the investigator arrives at the scene is todetermine how far the scene has been protected (Crime Scene ResourceInc, 2015). The investigator should then install adequate security atthe scene. The investigator may then obtain information pertaining tothe original condition of the scene from any person who might havearrived earlier. The investigator should then prevent anyunauthorized access to the scene and take photographs of the scenewithout moving any object or traces of evidence.
Acrime scene photographer needs a lot of equipment, in addition to thecamera. A good camera should have at least 10 megapixels forcollection of clear pictures. A flashlight may be required to helpthe photographer to view the dark areas (Staggs, 2014). A normal lens(55mm) gives the photographer a better perspective. A wide-angle lenswhen photographing constricted areas or small rooms. Filters may berequired when photographing through water or glass. A locking cablerelease may be needed when there is a need to lock open the cameraafter long exposure. A tripod may be required for holding the cameraduring a long exposure. A black and white film may be required forcertain types of evidence. A photo log is required to record detailsof each photograph. A tape measure and a scale are required whenphotographing large areas or large items. An angle finder helps thephotographer position the camera. A color chart is required forreferencing colors in injury photography.
Thephotographer first determines all possible sources of risk, includingbody fluids. This helps the photographer determine and useappropriate equipment and procedures to avoid hazards (CSRI, 2015).
Thedistance and camera settings determine the characteristics and theclarity of a photograph. Close-up scenes (such as footprints or an IDcard) are admissible in court and their photographs may be takenusing a small 3X5 inch card that has proper notations (Garland,2011). The distance between the scene and the camera should varydepending on the size of the area that needs to be covered andspecific details that the photographer intends to capture.
Photographerwrites the details of each photograph in the photo log, which can beused as a source of reference later on (Staggs, 2014). A digitalcamera may allow the photographer to save the photos using certaincodes or names for easy and accurate identification.
Aftertaking the photographs, the photographer label or codes beforetransferring them to a different recipient. The photographer shouldthen determine whether the recipient is the right person to receivethe photo in order to reduce chances of interference with theevidence (Garland, 2011). The photographer packages and applies allmeasures required to ensure that the integrity of the photographs isnot interfered with. The photographer may take the details of therecipient for record purposes.
Thetagged image file format (TIFF) is the best format for storing crimephotos. This is because TIFF is considered to give the truestinterpretation of any image, ensuring that none the details are lostduring storage, and the fact that all process is usually done withinthe camera (Robinson, 2010). The precautions taken during the storageinclude the protection of photos from any type of damage andreduction of chances of losing some details.
Reconstructingthe scene of crime
Thescene of crime is reconstructed when some interference has been made.After discovering the possible interferences of the scene, theinvestigator should use the physical evidence that is remaining,deductive reasoning, and interrelationships to get some explicitknowledge of a series of events surrounding the commission of thecrime (Garland, 2011). The investigator may also return the objectsto their original positions and take their photographs.
Thephotos should be presented in print form, where the size of eachphoto should be 8X10 inches. A large photo retains key details and iseasy for judges to handle (Garland, 2011). With the digitaltechnology, photos may be presented using a projector, but their sizecan be altered depending on the preferences of the audience.
Photographsare acceptable as credible sources of evidence that can help thejurors make their decisions. However, credible photographs shouldgive a fair representation of the actual scene and show the necessarydetails clearly.
CrimeScene Resource Inc. (2015). Organization and procedures for searchoperation. CSRS.Retrieved December 24, 2015, fromhttp://www.crime-scene-investigator.net/respon3.html
Garland,M. (2011). Criminalevidence (6thEd.).New York, NY: McGraw Hill Inc.
Robinson,M. (2010). Crimescene photography.Waltham: Academic Press.
Staggs,S. (2014). Crime scene photography kit. CrimeResource Inc.retrieved December 24, 2015, fromhttp://www.crime-scene-investigator.net/equip.html