Footprints as Evidence
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What is a Footprint?
A footprint is the impression that a person leaves in the earth after they walk on it. Both shoes and bare feet can leave footprints in soft or semi-soft earth. Footprints can last for a couple of minutes to hundreds of years.
Why Would a Footprint be Used as Evidence?
Footprints are typically used by the prosecution to prove an individual committed a crime, or at least were present at the scene of a crime and could have committed it. Footprints are not as unique as a fingerprint or DNA evidence, but under the right circumstances, they can be enough for a criminal conviction. When the prosecution looks at a footprint as evidence of criminal activity, they are usually focused on the following:
- The walk or gait of the person who left the footprints,
- Sole or heel indents,
- Cuts or the tread of a shoe, and
- Other signs of wear associated with a shoe.
The prosecution will try to use any of these signs associated with a footprint as evidence in the criminal trial of someone they thought committed a crime.
When Can a Footprint be Used as Evidence?
Along with looking at the above signs associated with a footprint, the prosecution may have a hard time proving a person is guilty of crime based on their footprints alone. That is because in order to use a footprint as evidence against someone for a crime, three things are needed. They are:
- A photography, plater mold, or print of the original and un-tainted footprint,
- The actual shoe or mold of a foot that belongs to the defendant and the prosecution believes matches the one at the crime scene, and
- An expert witness that can testify to the connection between the two beyond a reasonable doubt.
Do I Need an Attorney if a Footprint is Being Used as Evidence Against Me?
If a footprint is the primary evidence against you in a criminal case, it is highly recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney because footprint evidence can usually be rebutted. Only an attorney will be able to explain the relevant issues and help in your defense.
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Last Modified: 05-27-2011 02:37 PM PDT
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