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Physical Evidence

Requirements of physical evidence

recognized as potential evidence, collected in an appropriate manner, preserved properly for transmittal to laboratory


ex. blood, semen, saliva. must be present in a form suggesting a relation to the crime


the determination of the physical or chemical identity of a substance with as near absolute certainty as existing analytical techniques will permit

Identification requirements

testing procedures that give characteristic results, repeatability, specificity,

Comparison analysis

subjects a suspect specimen and a standard/reference specimen to the same tests and examinations for the ultimate purpose of determining whether or not they have a common origin

Evidential value

the worth of the physical evidence in a court of law, relies on probability

Individual Characteristics

evidence that can be associated to a common source with an extremely high degree of probability (ex- fingerprints, DNA)

Class Characteristics

when it can be associated only with a group and never with a single source, narrows an identity to a group of persons or things

Product Rule

used to get a probability for comparison analysis

Probative value

the value of physical evidence in proving or disproving the hypothesis

Uses of physical evidence

establish a link according to Locard's Exchange Principle, provide investigative leads, provide visible facts to jury, reconstruction of the crime scene

Linkage Triangle

Victim, Suspect, Scene

Persistence of transfer evidence depends on:

nature of evidence, location of evidence, environment around evidence, time from transfer to collection, "activity" of or around the evidence location

national fingerprint and criminal history system

IAFIS (Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System)

enabled federal, state, and local crime laboratories to electronically exchange and compare DNA profiles

Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)

crime scene reconstruction

the method used to support a likely sequence of events by the observation and evaluation of physical evidence, as well as statements made by those involved with the incident

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