Are police required to obtain forensic evidence from the accused in sexual assault cases?

Other than a oral swab, aren’t they also supposed to take pubic hairs, clothing, skin scraping under nails, etc?

Asked on July 19, 2014 under Criminal Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

They are not required to do so. Obviously, in some cases it would be appropriate to do so, and such evidence could be powerful evidence to convict--or the failure to do so could hurt the prosecution's case, since failure to take basic evidence could make it look like they were sloppy or hiding something. On the other hand, there are cases where that sort of evidence would be irrelevant, such as if the alleged victim says the only contact was oral, or stated that she had already showered and/or douched, which would eliminate such traces, etc.

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