In an effort to ensure the health and safety of all persons within each courthouse in this 15th Circuit and to prevent any accidental exposure, there is a need to establish guidelines and procedures for handling and packaging any non-hazardous and potentially hazardous evidence that contains or may contain hazardous substances.
Hazardous Exhibits are those that contain, may contain, or may have come into contact with potentially toxic or dangerous substances that may be life-threatening, including, but not limited to: Fentanyl, Carfentanil, Remifentanil, Alfentanil, Sufentanil, and other related high-potency narcotics that could be mixed with Heroin, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Marijuana or other drugs. Examples of exhibits that may have come into contact with a hazardous substance include, but are not limited to the following: small to large-sized carrying or storage bags, articles of clothing, weighing scales, smoking pipe(s) or items used to smoke drugs, and containers that have residue.
Packaging Requirements for Non-Hazardous and Known Hazardous Exhibits:
In the event that known hazardous or non-hazardous exhibits are brought into the courthouse, trial or Evidence Department, these exhibits shall be properly packaged and/or sealed. Requirements are as follows:
- Non-Hazardous Exhibits: if the bag and/or container is not sealed, the exhibit must be either in a brown bag, an envelope, or some type of container that is clearly labeled using an Evidence Exhibit card (see sample template). If a previously identified non-hazardous exhibit becomes known to be hazardous, repackage the exhibit following the guidelines below.
- Known Hazardous Exhibits: the bag and/or container must be properly sealed and the contents of the exhibit(s) detailed. Properly sealed and/or packaged means that the exhibit is to be sealed (suggest double bagging) to prevent seepage and is clearly labeled using an Evidence Exhibit card (see sample template.)
NOTE: Many Palm Beach County law enforcement agencies (LEOs) presently use the following bags to package hazardous-type exhibits: Order # A1150965 (a FraudStopper brand) and Order # DD0982282 (a SecurPak brand).