Friday, February 19, 2016

Chain of Custody

The Mississippi Supreme Court decided Thomas Tubbs v. State yesterday.  Tubbs was accused of having molested a three-year- old girl that he and his wife were babysitting in December  2009.  One of the issues raised on appeal was that it was error to admit evidence of dna testing when there was a break in the chain of custody in the handling of the evidence taken from the child’s underpants. The Court affirms finding that  “The test of whether there has been a break in the chain of custody is ‘whether there is an indication or reasonable inference of probable tampering with the evidence or substitution of the evidence.’”. The Court found this was not present.  In a footnote, it was also noted that [G]aps in the chain [of custody] normally go to the weight of the evidence rather than its admissibility.’” Deeds v. State, 27 So. 3d 1135, 1143 (Miss. 2009) (quoting U.S. v. Lott, 854 F. 2d 244, 250 (7th Cir. 1988).

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