Two-Pronged Test Before Evidence May Be Received
In State v. Campbell, 311 N.C. 386, 388, 317 S.E.2d 391, 392 (1984) the Court held that before real evidence may be received into evidence, the party offering the evidence must first satisfy a two-pronged test.
"The item offered must be identified as being the same object involved in the incident and it must be shown that the object has undergone no material change."
Determining the standard of certainty required to show that the item offered is the same as the item involved in the incident and that it is in an unchanged condition lies within the trial court's sound discretion. Id. at 388-89, 317 S.E.2d at 392.
"A detailed chain of custody need be established only when the evidence offered is not readily identifiable or is susceptible to alteration and there is reason to believe that it may have been altered." Id. at 389, 317 S.E.2d at 392.
Any weak links in the chain of custody pertain only to the weight to be given to the evidence and not to its admissibility. Id.