Handling evidence is done for a number of reasons. After it is photographed, drawn in the crime scene sketch, and listed in the crime scene notes, it should be processed. There may be an analysis done at the scene and packages for storage in the evidence repository, or the evidence may be collected for transportation to the crime laboratory for further analysis.
Control of the evidence for accountability purposes is done using a document known as the chain of custody. The chain of custody reflects the travel of the evidence through the criminal justice system including where it was obtained, who had control of it from the law enforcement agency that collected it, the evidence custodians who received it, the laboratory technician who analyzed it, the court clerk who held it as an exhibit during the trial, and finally the method of disposal when the evidence was no longer needed as evidence.
You are part of a crime scene unit conducting a crime scene search and processing. At the scene, you find a Colt, .45 caliber, model 1911A1 pistol with the serial number eradicated. There are seven rounds of .45 Remington Peters full metal jacket bullets in the magazine. There is a live round in the chamber of the pistol, and the hammer is cocked with the safety off. The pistol has been photographed, drawn in the sketches, and notes on the pistol have been completed.
Complete the following in a 4–6-page paper:
- What will happen to this pistol if it was found to be used in a crime, and how will it be processed, packaged, and analyzed?
- Detail the chain-of-custody persons that you can expect to handle the firearm.
- Explain how the firearm should be packaged.
- Relate what tests may be performed in the crime lab.
- Explain how you would testify to the findings of the lab and how you controlled who had the weapon after it was seized as evidence.
- Finally, after the court trial is over and there is no appeal pending, how would the firearm be disposed of?