Proper evidence preservation and cataloging

In order for evidence in closed cases to be subject to forensic testing that may not have been available when the person was convicted, it is crucial that evidence is properly stored, preserved for the duration of the sentence of the convicted person and properly indexed so that it can be retrieved years after the conviction if necessary.

Efficient purging of bulky, non-probative or misdemeanor evidence after conviction is also important so that evidence facilities have the capacity to store and preserve evidence that could be subjected to forensic testing in serious felony cases. Efficient storage and indexing of evidence has the added advantage of reducing the time spent by court employees, law enforcement, prosecutors and public defenders trying to locate evidence.

IPNO advocates for state-wide laws that require custodians of evidence in felony criminal cases or investigations to preserve the evidence, or samples of it, for the duration of the sentence of the longest-sentenced co-defendant in the case. Such a law should include penalties for custodians who destroy or negligently lose evidence before the law allows it to be destroyed.

IPNO also advocates for proper equipment and training for staff in all evidence facilities so that human error is never a factor in whether an innocent person will die in prison for a crime they did not commit.

Angola Prision