Within the legal system, public agencies and courts work together to rigorously protect the evidence chain of custody. The process is typically logical and ordered, but digital
evidence handling isn’t infallible. Improper evidence collection and preservation affect evidence admissibility, the trying of cases, and ultimately the application of justice.
To guard against the serious consequences of breaking the chain of custody, it’s imperative to understand 3 key risk factors that could jeopardize digital and physical evidence.
1. Inadequate Storage
The amount of digital and physical evidence gathered for a case can be profound. A single file may require up to 1.5 terabytes of storage space. Common storage solutions are proving insufficient and potentially determinantal because of storage that's inadequate or insecure.
2. Digital Evidence Collection Disparity
There are many viable forms of digital evidence, and the information is often compelling or central to building a legal case. Given the different types of media, file formats may not be compatible with all digital evidence systems.
3. The Human Element
It's common for many agencies and stakeholders to be involved in a single case. An overabundance of evidence, along with too many touchpoints, can potentially cause confusion, procedural delays, and harm to evidence integrity.
Bridging the Gap
A break in chain of custody could have one or several causes, but the potential outcome is the same: inadmissible evidence that could lead to misinformed judges, juries, and verdicts.
Implementing an integrated end-to-end evidence management system such as Omnigo Investigation and Case Management with Digital Evidence is the safest, most effective way to eliminate process inconsistencies and maintain a complete, secure evidence chain of custody.