On Who the Burden of Proof Lies In Evidence Contamination Cases ?

In People v. Estrada, 91 Ill. App. 3d 228, 414 N.E.2d 512, 46 Ill. Dec. 628 (1980), a Third District panel, examining the silent-witness authentication of an audio tape, held that " 'when a colorable attack is made as to a tape's authenticity and accuracy, the burden on those issues shifts to the party offering the tape.' " Estrada, 91 Ill. App. 3d at 238, quoting United States v. Starks, 515 F.2d 112, 122 (3d Cir. 1975). A closely related principle applies to the authentication of drug evidence: "Unless the defendant produces actual evidence of tampering, substitution, or contamination, the State need only establish a probability that tampering, substitution, or contamination did not occur." People v. Garth, 353 Ill. App. 3d 108, 114, 817 N.E.2d 1085, 288 Ill. Dec. 435 (2004).