Chain of custody

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Chain of custody

"The requirement of authentication or identification as a condition precedent to admissibility is satisfied by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter is what its proponent claims." N.J.R.E. 901. "A party introducing tangible evidence has the burden of laying a proper foundation for its admission." State v. Brunson, 132 N.J. 377, 393 (1993). This foundation should include a showing of an uninterrupted chain of custody. Ibid. (citing State v. Brown, 99 N.J. Super. 22, 27, (App. Div.), certif. denied, 51 N.J. 468 (1968)). The determination of whether the State sufficiently established the chain of custody is within the discretion of the trial court. Brown, supra, 99 N.J. Super. at 27. Generally, evidence will be admitted if the court finds "in reasonable probability that the evidence has not been changed in important respects or is in substantially the same condition as when the crime was committed." Id. at 28 (citations omitted). "[A] defect in the chain of custody goes to the weight, not the admissibility, of the evidence introduced." State v. Morton, 155 N.J. 383, 446 (1998).

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