Topics: Appellate Review

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STATE V. SEQUIN 73 Haw. 331, 832 P.2d 269 (1992)
Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the Second Degree. We affirm....
An aerial photograph, taken six months after the crime was excluded at trial because it “did not substantially depict the area as it existed [on the day of the crime] and that the exhibit could thereby mislead the jury…”

Although Makanani agreed that otherwise the photograph fairly and accurately depicted the area as it looked in 1986, his testimony clearly showed that the photograph was not a fair and accurate representation of the cockfighting area as it looked in early June of 1986. We find that the aerial photograph was properly excluded because it did not subsequently depict the cockfighting pit and its immediate environs....

STATE V. VANCE 61 Haw. 291, 602 P.2d 933 (1979)
[It was not error for the trial court to admit cocaine even though] there had been no showing of the chain of custody from the time the evidence was received by the police chemists until the time it was received in evidence at trial. We find that the evidence was properly admitted.
The settled rule in other jurisdictions is that “a foundation must be laid connecting the exhibit with the defendant and showing the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit from the time it came into the possession of the police until it was laboratory tested. The purpose of the rule is to avoid any claim of substitution, tampering or mistake.” ... Establishing the chain of custody is essential to show that the substance analyzed was the substance seized from the defendant. ... After chemical analysis, however, the substance itself is not vital evidence. ... Therefore, proof of chain of custody of the substance during the period after analysis until introduction into evidence at trial is not required
… it is not necessary to negate all possibilities of tampering with an exhibit. It is sufficient to establish that it is reasonably certain that no tampering took place, with any doubt going to the weight of the evidence. ...
… the uncontradicted testimony of the police officers and crime lab analysts established the chain of custody of the evidence from the time the items were recovered by the police to the time the substances were tested. Moreover, the appellants have made no allegation of alteration or substitution.
We find the admission into evidence was not in error.

HRE 901

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