New Greeley crime lab highlights importance of evidentiary rules

What is the purpose of a trial? Many would say a trial is a search for truth, but that is not completely accurate. Certainly, some aspects of the court process serve to expose the truth, but others directly obfuscate it in favor of other concerns - concerns like protecting the rights of the accused.

According to the Constitution, the purpose of the judiciary is to resolve cases and controversies. In the criminal law context, the controversy consists of the state - the prosecution - attempting to prove charges and impose punishment based on one version of the facts, and the defendant - the person accused of a crime - contesting those charges and fighting for a reduced sentence or an acquittal.

At the heart of a criminal law controversy is evidence. Evidence is the lens through which a judge or jury will view the case and make a decision. Whatever crime you have been accused of committing, from assault to drunk driving, evidence is crucial to your case - getting the right evidence introduced, seeing to it that harmful evidence is excluded, exposing flaws in the law enforcement process of handling evidence. The recent completion of a new crime lab in Northern Colorado highlights the essential role of evidence in a criminal case, and serves as a powerful reminder not to underestimate the opposition.

Impressive facility handles high volume of evidence

The Northern Colorado Regional Forensic Laboratory was officially opened in Greeley in August of 2013. The 20,000 square foot facility was completed at a cost of $4 million.

Formerly, police investigators throughout the area had to send most evidence to Denver for analysis. Now, the Greeley crime lab handles evidence from the Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland police departments, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, and the Weld and Larimer counties sheriff's offices.

The proximity of the Greeley crime lab has reduced processing times from days to hours for many types of evidence. Ballistics, tire tread and footprint marks, blood and other biological evidence, and chemical tests are among the types of evidence processed at the new facility. According to the Greeley Tribune, two fulltime analysts and a part-time analyst are dedicated to pulling fingerprints off of physical evidence alone.

An emerging area of focus at the Greeley crime lab is digital multimedia investigations. This includes reviewing evidence like saved messages and times in cell phones, and digital information contained in email accounts or on hard drives, which is often particularly important in sex crime cases alleging possession of child pornography.

There are many ways to contest evidence against you

If you have been accused of committing a crime in Northern Colorado, it can seem like you face insurmountable odds with resources like the Greeley crime lab aligned against you. But, even when evidence is processed at as impressive a facility as the one in Greeley, you may have many avenues to contest it.

Having evidence in your case subjected to scientific testing is not necessarily a bad thing. It creates a record, allowing you to review findings through independent testing as part of your defense. It creates a trail that allows you to sniff out oversights in the bureaucratic process that may have affected the integrity of evidence. And, even the best scientific testing in the world cannot get evidence that was collected in violation of your rights admitted in court.

If you have been charged with a crime, do not let the state's version of evidence determine your future. Get in touch with a Greeley criminal defense attorney today and fight for your rights.