Testing requires scrupulous attention to detail. The expert must maintain impeccable records of his procedures at every point. Memory fails. The expert should write, draw, photograph, videotape or otherwise record all steps of the testing process.
Testing is often a prerequisite to expert testimony. Occasionally, destructive testing must be undertaken.
Steps to follow during destructive testing:
- Consult with attorney and client prior to testing.
- If an opposing party is known, the party should be given notice. This simple step will avoid many potential problems and objections later on.
- If the matter is subject to court or administrative procedures, review and observe rules of the forum.
- Obtain a court or administrative order before destructive tests are undertaken.
- Maintain meticulous documentation. Show precisely what was done, how it was done, and what the findings were. Record the process with photographs or videotape.
- Make sound recordings when appropriate, particularly if results are observed or the process is audible and can be heard.
- Follow the scientific method of preservation: marking, labeling and evaluating to preserve the residue from the test.
- If the process is lengthy, time-lapse photography is an alternative method of recording.
Helpful guidelines for situations where destructive testing is necessary:
- Use documentation.
- Obtain written authorization.
- Use photos or video to record the events.
- Arrange for witnesses to be present.
Additional Online Courses
- What Every First Responding Officer Should Know About DNA Evidence
- Collecting DNA Evidence at Property Crime Scenes
- DNA – A Prosecutor’s Practice Notebook
- Crime Scene and DNA Basics
- Laboratory Safety Programs
- DNA Amplification
- Population Genetics and Statistics
- Non-STR DNA Markers: SNPs, Y-STRs, LCN and mtDNA
- Firearms Examiner Training
- Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers
- What Every Investigator and Evidence Technician Should Know About DNA Evidence
- Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court
- Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert
- Laboratory Orientation and Testing of Body Fluids and Tissues
- DNA Extraction and Quantitation
- STR Data Analysis and Interpretation
- Communication Skills, Report Writing, and Courtroom Testimony
- Español for Law Enforcement
- Amplified DNA Product Separation for Forensic Analysts