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DNA - A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook Inventory

Packaging DNA Evidence

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Photo of DNA evidence in a labeled brown paper bag
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Prosecutors should be familiar with the protocols and policies of both law enforcement and crime labs regarding DNA evidence packaging and storage, as these may impact on issues of evidence admissibility, weight, and chain of custody, and are areas ripe for attack by the defense. Prosecutors should be involved in the training of law enforcement and crime lab personnel, as properly packaged, labeled, and transported evidence will be given more weight in the courtroom and be less open to defense challenges. For example, wet samples (e.g. blood or semen) must be air-dried prior to packaging and each sample individually packaged and labeled to prevent cross-contamination. Should any questions arise regarding these protocols, forensic crime laboratory personnel should be consulted for guidance.

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