This paper will examine crime scene photography. Across the United States, law enforcement agencies are responsible for investigating crimes, arresting suspects, and providing necessary evidence to attorneys, judges and juries. To objectively do this, police need to gather accurate information and clearly explain the crime scene and physical evidence in a court of law. Some of this information includes the accurate documentation of the incident.
This paper will examine such documentation using photography. Specifically, it will examine two issues. First, it will provide an overview of crime scene photography. Second, it will discuss how, in federal and state courts, a photo can be admitted into court as evidence. The Purity Knight case will be used as part of that section.
1. Crime Scene Photography.
Everyone knows the saying, "one picture is worth a thousand words- is true with crime scene photography. No matter how well an investigator can verbally describe a crime scene, photographs can tell the same story better and more easily. Police officers know this better than most people. One article stated that:.
Almost every day photography provides new evidence of its value as a powerful weapon in the war against crime. More and more departments are coming to realize that "even in routine incidents "simple pictures taken with simple cameras can make an impressive difference in Court. Furthermore, police departments are continually finding new ways to use photography, both as a tool for investigation and as a means to record data quickly and accurately (RCMP Website, 2002, paragraph 1,2 ). .
Before a detailed examination of the crime scene is made or before any items are moved or even touched, the crime scene should be photographed. The photographs should be taken to clearly and accurately depict the actual scene, the path taken by the criminal to the scene, the point of entry, the exit, and the escape route.