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False evidence, fabricate evidence, forge evidence or taint evidence is information created or obtained illegally, to sway the verdict in a court case. Also, misleading by suppressing evidence can be used to sway a verdict; however, in some cases, suppressed evidence is excluded because it was found hidden or locked away in areas the accused could not be proven to know. In Britain, falsifying evidence to convict the guilty is known as 'Noble Cause Corruption'. Some evidence is forged because the person doing the forensic work finds it easier to fabricate evidence than to perform the actual work involved. The planting of a gun at a crime scene would be used by the police to justify shooting the victim in self-defense, and avoid possible prosecution for manslaughter. However, the accused might have falsified some evidence, especially if not arrested immediately, or by having other access to a crime scene and related areas. Falsified evidence could be created by either the police/prosecution or the defendant(s), or by someone sympathetic to their cause.
In some criminal cases, a person will be identified as a "person of interest" for a few days before arrest, allowing time to reveal suspicious actions (such as in recorded phone calls), or to attempt to falsify evidence before their arrest. A type of falsified evidence, used to acquit, would be faked sales receipts which indicated activities (with the accused) had occurred elsewhere during the time of the crime.
In June 1970 A Pukekawa, Lower Waikato, couple were killed and their bodies dumped in the Waikato River. Arthur Allan Thomas, a local farmer, was twice convicted of their murders but following massive publicity was later given a Royal Pardon.
Two bullet cases presented by senior policemen Hutton and Johnston were crucial evidence for the conviction. In 1980, after Thomas's pardon a Royal commission into the convictions concluded "Mr Hutton and Mr Johnston planted the shellcase, exhibit 350 in the Crewe garden, and that they did so to manufacture evidence that Mr Thomas's rifle had been used for the killings."
In the New York State Police Troop C scandal of 1993, Craig D. Harvey, a New York State Police trooper, was charged with fabricating evidence. Harvey admitted he and another trooper lifted fingerprints from items the suspect, John Spencer, touched while in Troop C headquarters during booking. He attached the fingerprints to evidence cards and later claimed that he had pulled the fingerprints from the scene of the murder. The forged evidence was used during trial and John Spencer was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.
After the truth came out, it was discovered that they had been falsifying evidence in cases for many years. At least three officers were convicted. Every case the department had been involved in had to be reinvestigated.
In the 1990s, the fingerprint, DNA, and explosive units of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory had written reports confirming local police department theories without actually performing the work.
Such laws and regulatory procedures stipulating the conditions under which evidence can be handled and manipulated fall under a body of due process statues called chain of evidence rules. It is crucial for law enforcement agencies to scrupulously collect, handle and transfer evidence in order to avoid its falsification. In most jurisdictions, chain of evidence rules require that the transfer of criminal evidence be handled by as few persons as possible. To prevent error or improper tampering, chain of evidence rules also stipulate that those authorized to experiment with collected evidence document the nature, time, date and duration of their handling.
In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, soldiers have been known to place weapons on or near a slain individual to make that person appear to be an enemy combatant or insurgent. Alternatively, a drop weapon or other item is left in the open; any individual who picks it up may be fired upon; a process known as baiting.
In 2008, three United States Army soldiers were found guilty of planting evidence in this way; one of them, Sgt. Evan Vela, was also sentenced to a 10 year prison term for murder of an unarmed Iraqi.
A military court found that on the 27th of April, 2007, Specialist Jorge Sandoval, shot an Iraqi man, on the order of Staff Sgt. Michael Hensley. The two men then placed a spool of wire into the pocket of the dead man, who had been cutting grass with a rusty sickle. Hensley and Sandoval were charged with murder, of which they were acquitted, and with planting evidence, of which they were found guilty.
The Asymmetric Warfare Group is said by Captain Didier to have sent boxes of the kind normally used to hold ammunition filled with "drop items" to his unit, the 1st Battalion 501st Infantry Regiment in order "to disrupt the AIF (Anti-Iraqi Forces) attempts at harming coalition forces and give us the upper hand in a fight."
The Independent newspaper quoted a spokesperson for the US military as saying: "There are no classified programs that authorise the murder of local nationals and the use of 'drop weapons' to make killings appear legally justified."