Innocent people have spent years behind bars, countless criminal cases have been thrown out due to tainted evidence
, and the cost of litigation has soared.
Using a hypothetical case, we first consider the behavior of the police actor who makes the initial mistake, along with the actions of his or her colleague who receives the tainted evidence
Gary Ford died after carbon monoxide seeped into his home in Bebington, Wirral, as he edged towards securing a PS250,000 payout from West Yorkshire police after they admitted using tainted evidence
from a supergrass to convict him of a string of burglaries and robberies.
If a crime lab is incompetent - or worse, corrupt - injustices can result for crime victims and suspects alike, and the work of police, courts and prosecutors can be made worthless by tainted evidence
In the event, the wheels of justice move slowly, often hanging around esoteric technical matters as prosecutors and defence teams haggle over tainted evidence
, contradictory interpretations, and doubtful motives.
At least 33 convictions resulting from tainted evidence
given by members of the squad have been quashed by the Court of Appeal - including the convictions of the Birmingham Six.
The appeals court ruled for Wurie, but left in place a drug conviction for selling cocaine near a school that did not depend on the tainted evidence
Lawyers for the trio said the subsequent decision by the trial judge to allow the tainted evidence
to go before the jury meant the panel was unfairly prejudiced against the trio and the convictions could not stand.
Why authorities persist with such tainted evidence
is beyond me because the only "confessions" that have any public credibility are those made voluntarily in an open court.
The report says that the principal obstacles to prosecution are not tainted evidence
(presumably obtained by torture) or a desire to protect sources.
By using "enhanced interrogation methods" - torture - to extract information, the Bush administration tainted evidence
so that it cannot be introduced at either a trial or a military commission.
There are all too many examples of the way in which public opinion is swayed by tainted evidence
and emotional and irrational decision making," he said.