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Acceptable amount of evidence for a reconstruction???

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First Name: Joel
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Acceptable amount of evidence for a reconstruction???

Post by finnandjake » Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:16 pm

Hi, this question is probably best for someone who has served as an expert witness in a trial.
My question relates to the level of information needed in a accident scene reconstruction to uphold to a standard accepted in a court of law.
This accident involves a collision where a vehicle struck a pedestrian from behind while both were travelling down a 2 lane road with no sidewalks, just shoulders. The pedestrian, and police, believe he was hit on the shoulder whereas the driver insists the collision happened in the lane of travel.
In the course of discovery, the police report has been released with photographs of the scene as well as several sketches that comprise the police department's reconstruction. However these sketches include no measurements of any kind, not of distances or angles, and there is not even a scale. Also, some debris are marked on the sketches that were not found in the photos while other debris in the photos were not marked on the sketches, some debris was even mislabeled. On top of that, the location of some debris, or the location of stationary objects like a light pole and a fire hydrant, doesn't seem to match up with some of the photos. To top it off several photos of the scene are simply a blurry mess without a clear 2nd photo taken.
Did the police just fall asleep on the job here? Will this even hold up in court? Can the prosecution really just rely on the testimony of a couple of officers, that can't seem to properly document a crime scene?
The kicker here is that the pedestrian was heavily intoxicated and ultimately landed on the center yellow lines that divide the two lanes, giving the driver a case to go off of. Could some slick defense lawyer get the driver off due to an incomplete reconstruction? Should I light a proverbial fire under someone's butt to get justice?

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Re: Acceptable amount of evidence for a reconstruction???

Post by mchenrysoftware » Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:52 pm

It's been a number of days and no others have responded let me give it a shot.
    First please always show respect on this forum or on ANY forum when characterizing police work. In a perfect world all police departments would have officers who specialize in accident/collision reconstruction including training on pedestrian collisions and those officers are available at the time and location of every subject collision (who was on duty? called in?) etc.
    This forum includes many dedicated and highly trained law enforcement individuals (both active and retired) who have worked and continue to work very hard to provide accurate and complete accident reconstructions while also putting their lives on the line every single day they work for their community.
As far as the accident you presented:
    i would suggest you hire a local accident reconstruction expert with pedestrian collisions training and experience to help you understand the circumstances of the collision.
    With pedestrian/vehicle collisions there is a question of where the impact occurred (sometimes documented by scuffs from shoes), what the driver did subsequent to the impact (swerve? brake?), whether the pedestrian was launched from impact or rode partway on the hood, where the impact marks were on the vehicle (what part of the fender, hood, windshield, etc. were involved?)
    A local expert should be able to assist you with your questions and concerns.
brian

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