chapter  Chapter 2
23 Pages

Physical evidence in the legal system

WithHoward A. Harris, Henry C. Lee

The nature of and the mechanism for generating physical evidence are critical concerns for forensic scientists. Finding or identifying physical evidence is important, but not sufficient to allow one to make the best possible use of it. Another way that physical evidence is generated is through the transfer of material between surfaces, which came into contact with the material. In addition to transfers resulting from direct contact, one can find useful evidence traces of many types that result from a deposit rather than a direct contact transfer. Physical evidence is also produced as a result of damage, tearing force, breakage, cuts, and many other processes. The role of physical evidence in helping to identify a victim or a suspect is central to forensic evidence. Utilization of physical evidence in the justice system requires that a series of steps be taken in the proper sequence: recognition, documentation, and collection, packaging, and preservation.