It seems intuitive that all evidence for a case should be considered during a criminal trial. But in many cases, deciding what evidence is relevant and what evidence is not can be a major issue. Many state laws call for DNA evidence to be preserved forever, but what about certain video, audio, or image evidence
The destruction of these materials, in most cases, is up to the judge’s discretion, according to this case article from marionstar.com. In this particular case based in Columbus, OH, the judge backed the destruction of some pieces of evidence in a rape and murder case, based on the nature of the evidence. The evidence was deemed obscene and did not serve any real purpose to the case.
Attorney John A. Birdsall agrees that most items should be preserved, especially when you look at the amount of exonerations since DNA was first implemented. “While this isn’t involving DNA, any pertinent evidence in a serious conviction, even a guilty plea, should have a presumption of retention,” continued Birdsall. Cases like this serve as a great reminder of exactly how complicated criminal trials can become and how critical quality representation can be for a case.
Is it right to have evidence retention up to the discretion of the judge, what do you think?