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Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court

Basic Discovery: The Duty to Preserve (cont.)

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Photo of evidence folder being put into a paper shredder with a red circle with a diagonal cross through it over top
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Youngblood remains the governing Federal law today. 4 However, several States have applied a different standard, under their respective constitutions or criminal discovery statutes, and do not require proof of bad faith when contesting the destruction of potentially exculpatory evidence. 5 In some States, the focus is on the duty to preserve material evidence; others look at whether the evidence that was destroyed might have been material and weigh its potential importance against the evidence used to convict.

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