A police chief in Colorado has called the DNA destroyed in 48 sexual assault cases a ‘screw up.’ Some would use much stronger language to define the destruction of evidence in sex crime cases which is crucial to convicting the appropriate offender. When evidence is destroyed, there is the possibility innocent people will be jailed for crimes they did not commit.
Before DNA evidence can be destroyed, a process must be followed in order to ascertain the appropriateness of destroying that evidence. This process was not followed in the 48 cases in Colorado, and crucial evidence has been lost. Imagine being accused of a crime you did not commit and finding out the only evidence that can clear your name has been destroyed. Imagine being the victim of a sex crime, and the case being dismissed due to the evidence no longer existing.
Whether victim or accused, the judicial system was established for the pursuit of justice. While justice is not always the result in every case, the judicial system in the United States is seen by many as the best in the world. When evidence is destroyed due to negligence, the entire justice system is called into question. The accused may question their ability to receive a fair trial, and victims worry there will be no justice in their cases.
All aspects of a case, from witnesses to evidence and from trial to sentencing, must be handled with the reverence due the best judicial system in the world. Colorado’s judicial system has lost respect due to the apparently negligent destruction of evidence. If one person’s freedom is taken due to the destruction of the evidence in the 48 sex crime cases, then our judicial system has failed due to the mistakes of a few irresponsible individuals.
Source: The Daily Caller, “Police ‘screw up’ leads to accidental DNA evidence destruction,” Greg Campbell, June 26, 2013