Types of Demonstrative Evidence and Evidence Authentication

Types of Demonstrative Evidence

For the purpose of demonstrating or clarifying factual issues that are presented in a case, demonstrative evidence is adopted. Here are different categories of specific demonstrative evidence:

Photographs- Photography is the process of capturing still photos using a camera in order to show scenes, objects, injuries, or events. They offer a visual background and could play an important role in the reconstruction of events (Rychlak & Rychlak, 2019).   

X-rays – X-rays are radiographic images that are performed in medical or forensic settings to see internal structures such as bones or organs. They assist in showing injuries or medical issues.

Video – Videos are visual recordings created by cameras, which offer a dynamic presentation of events, activities, or behaviors. Videos provide a thorough vision and are efficient in describing sequences of occurrences.

Automated Systems: Information gathered from mechanized systems or gadgets, such as GPS trackers, CCTV cameras, or dashboard cameras. This form of evidence offers impartial observation of events as they occur.

Computer Simulations: According to Rychlak & Rychlak, (2019) computer-generated simulations of scenes or processes, commonly employed in accident reconstruction or rigorous scientific demonstrations. They aid in generating images of hypothetical scenarios.

Charts and Graphs: Data visualization refers to the use of visual representations for displaying trends, analogies, or statistical analyses of data or information. They facilitate the presentation of complex details in a readable fashion.

Diagrams: Basic drawings or diagrams depicting structures, systems, or relationships in a simplified manner. They provide clarification on technical or spatial components of a case.

Models: Physical or digital reproductions of items, structures, or ecosystems. Models are useful for demonstrating sophisticated ideas or illustrating tangible characteristics.

Maps: Cartographic depictions of geographical regions, employed to illustrate positions, limits, or spatial connections. They play a crucial role in situations related to geography, like crime scenes or disagreements over property.

Timelines: Sequential depictions of events in chronological order, typically represented visually. Timelines offer a concise and organized representation of the chronological order of events or incidents.

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Purpose of Demonstrative Evidence

Clarification of complicated information can be achieved through the use of demonstrative evidence. It is possible to simplify complicated information for judges and jurors through the use of demonstrative evidence, which also helps to improve understanding. It is possible to reconstruct events or incidents with the assistance of demonstrative evidence, which can be in the form of photographs, videos, or simulations (Park & Feigenson, 2021). This kind of evidence also helps build timelines and sequences. Corroboration of witness testimony can be achieved through the use of demonstrative evidence, which offers visual reinforcement for the assertions made by witnesses. In order to simplify the understanding of complex or abstract ideas, graphs, drawings, and models serve to represent them (Park & Feigenson, 2021). Using visual aids helps to catch the viewer’s interest and captivate the audience, which ultimately results in presentations that are more enticing and memorable.

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What is Evidence Authentication?

Authentication, according to Rule 901 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, is the procedure of verifying the authenticity of evidence that is presented in a court of law. It guarantees the authenticity of the evidence. Prior to being admitted in court, all forms of evidence must undergo authentication. This criterion guarantees the dependability and credibility of the evidence supplied. Authentication is essential because it creates the basis for the pertinence and acceptability of evidence in legal processes (Graham, 2019). Authentication and relevancy are intimately related, as authenticated evidence must be directly pertinent to the matters in question. Relevant evidence must be authentic, as its accuracy and origin cannot be checked if it is not.

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The Process of Authenticating Both Real Evidence and Demonstrative Evidence

The authentication method for both tangible evidence and demonstration evidence include verifying its identification and ensuring its integrity. We can achieve authentication of evidence by looking into:

Real Evidence

Concrete evidence, such as guns, documents, or physical things, is verified by testimony from witnesses who can confirm its authenticity and its relevance to the case (Pierini, 2023). This may need the presence of witnesses who can authenticate the chain of possession or specialists who can provide testimony regarding the object’s features.

Demonstrative Evidence

Demonstrative evidence, that includes photographs or videos, can be verified by witnesses who can confirm its accuracy or by using technological methods like metadata analysis for digital files. Furthermore, authentication of demonstrative evidence may require demonstrating that it faithfully and accurately demonstrates the subject matter it claims to represent.

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Authentication of Specific Types of Demonstrative Evidence

Pictorial Evidence: Evidence from those who captured the photos or operated the devices could be used as a means of authenticating photographs, X-rays, movies, and autonomous devices. Furthermore, the process of metadata analysis has the capability to authenticate the time, date, and location of photographs or videos, so strengthening their credibility (Pierini, 2023).

Computer Printouts: Computer printed copies can be verified by determining the dependability of the computer system that produces them and by confirming the legitimacy of the data they include. This process may require a testament from individuals who are in charge of maintaining the computer system or ensuring the precision of the data.

Maps, Models, Diagrams, Charts, and Summaries: Expert testimony can validate certain sorts of demonstrative evidence, confirming their reliability and importance to the case. An instance of map authentication involves the verification of its accuracy in representing geographic characteristics by a surveyor, whereas the authentication of a model entails the confirmation of its faithfulness to the authentic design or object by an engineer.

What are The different stages in the evidence Chain of Custody ?

The chain of custody pertains to the sequential record-keeping of the manipulation, conveyance, and existence of tangible evidence from the moment it is gathered until it is introduced as evidence in a court of law. The chain of custody is segmented into various stages including collection whereby authorized personnel are responsible for the collection of evidence from the crime scene or source, wherein they carefully record the initial condition and placement of the evidence. Then the evidence is sealed (Pierini, 2023). The process of sealing and packaging involves the use of containers specifically intended to maintain the integrity of evidence and prevent any unauthorized tampering. Transportation takes place. The transportation of evidence to the laboratory or storage facility is carried out, ensuring that each transfer has been thoroughly tracked to uphold the integrity of the chain of custody. The evidence is securely held in a facility that only allows authorized persons to access it, in order to prevent any contamination or loss. The second phase is for analyzing data. Experts evaluate the evidence, if needed, to extract pertinent information or identify essential elements of the case. The evidence is ultimately produced in a court of law, supported by comprehensive paperwork that outlines its chain of custody, so establishing its validity and dependability.

Why Is The Chain Of Custody So Important To Successful Prosecutions ?

The integrity of the chain of custody is essential for successful prosecutions due to reasons like following the chain of custody procedure guarantees that evidence can be presented in court by proving its integrity and validity. Accurate record-keeping of the chain of custody is crucial for maintaining the authenticity of the evidence and safeguarding it against any potential contamination, tampering, or loss (Pierini, 2023). The presence of a well-documented chain of custody improves the trustworthiness of the evidence by establishing a clear record of how it was handled and stored. Preserving the chain of custody safeguards the rights of the defendant by guaranteeing that the evidence submitted in court is reliable and free from any tampering.

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