Evidence and Disposition: What Is It And How Does it Work?

When presenting evidence in court, following the correct chain of custody in judicial proceedings is critical. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is the proper disposition of evidence. The disposition is vital to the integrity of the evidence custody system as a whole. It is completed after the piece of evidence has been presented in a judicial proceeding. 

Any evidence already presented in court or not being used in proceedings must be disposed of after a period of 6 months, however, this isn’t always the case. The hardest part of maintaining an evidence management system is the disposition, which has been the number one enemy of evidence managers across the country. 

Many law enforcement departments have been forced to rent storage units and acquire new buildings, all needed to make way for evidence build-up. Evidence handling has gotten out of hand, which is further reinforced by dwindling budgets and limited resources. 

Thankfully, there is a way to overhaul the entire existing evidence management system- it begins by getting back to the basics. Here’s how it works:

A Good Disposition System

An effective evidence management system necessitates a good disposition system, which ensures that agencies can dispose of the right amount of evidence—which should be close to what they accept annually. Unfortunately, failing to get the ratio right can lead to a systematic issue, which can effectively lead to compromising the integrity of evidence. 

In other words, failure to dispose of the necessary items can lead to the contamination of proceedings. For many agencies, investing in an automated system is the right way to go.

A quality evidence management system allows managers to automatically assign follow-up dates, allowing the staff to carefully review the incurred pieces of evidence in a given year. From there, they can sort the items that need to be preserved and those that need to be disposed of to make room for others. 

Every single part of the process can be documented through the system, particularly when certain issues arise. The authorization can also become a part of the system, allowing staff the authorization to dispose of evidence. In the end, you will have gained a system that works seamlessly, along with storage units that have enough space for future cases.

Investing in the Best Evidence Management System

Maintaining a proper chain of custody is essential to all legal cases. Any mishandling can lead to an item being dismissed during the trial. Many people do not realize that the chain of custody also encompasses the disposition of evidence. By acknowledging the importance of this step and addressing the risks associated with the failure of a proper disposition, law enforcement agencies all over the country will be able to build and maintain a better justice system.

An Evidence Management Software You Can Trust 

For the best evidence management companion, PMI Evidence Tracker ™ has you covered. We offer you a powerful evidence management tool, designed to help your agency stay on top of management. Affordable and easy to use, we’re here to help you serve the people in better and profound ways. Reach out to learn more!