Monthly Archives: June 2015

Untested Rape Kits: State Budget Earmarks $300,000 for Backlog

DNA HelixLAKELAND | Although Gov. Rick Scott slashed more than $460 million from the 2015 Florida budget, Specific Appropriation 1247 remained untouched.
SA 1247 provides $300,000 in recurring general revenue funds to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement “to conduct a statewide audit of rape kits that have not been analyzed, including both kits that have been submitted to a laboratory for analysis and those that have not been submitted.”

Law enforcement struggles with rape kits backlog

GATCSexual assault cases are breaking, or at least getting cracked, locally and throughout the nation as backlogged rape kits flood into labs for analysis.
In the Top of Utah, some of these untested kits date back over 15 years. Local police say they recognize the importance of getting tests out of storerooms and into crime centers for testing. But the road from local law enforcement agency to the state forensic labs remains rutted. Agency to agency, local methods for navigating the backlog barriers also diverge.

New law addresses rising death toll of unidentified border crossers

Justice ScalesMore than 1,000 immigrants have died in the Rio Grande Valley since 2005, the majority of whose bodies remain unidentified, because local authorities lack the resources to investigate their deaths and to extract their DNA.
But a bill signed June 22 by Gov. Greg Abbott tasks the Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC) with establishing methods of extracting DNA and other forensic evidence from unidentified bodies found less than 120 miles from the Texas border.

Texas lab has helped ID remains here previously

Helix4Dixie Peters works in a lab that gives families peace of mind as she and her colleagues unravel the mystery of the unidentified dead. It’s a service that many people, even including police, don’t know about. But police departments from Manchester and New Britain have used the services of the lab, free of charge, to identify human remains, at times putting long-unsolved crimes to rest.

State requires DNA tests, but who pays what?

DNA CollectorSTEVENS POINT – People found guilty of crimes in Wisconsin must pay to have their DNA collected — but ambiguous wording in the law may mean they’re not all paying the same amount.

Why Are 137 Rape Kits Untested In El Cajon?

Rape KitsJune 25, 2015 (El Cajon) – Nationwide, over 400,000 rape kits have never been tested, including many right here in our region. Yet testing every rape kit can produce undeniably dramatic results.

How Anthony Graves Went from Death Row to Overseeing the Houston Crime Lab

Anthony GravesA few weeks ago, Anthony Graves began hearing rumors that he was under consideration for a spot on the Houston Forensic Science Center’s board of directors — a post that would put him in a position to help the city prevent wrongful convictions.

New unit specializes in cold case investigations

helix 7Dr. Guy Vallaro and a team of scientists at the CT State Forensic Science Lab are hoping to reinvigorate cold case investigations with a new unit that focuses on re-examining DNA, firearms, fingerprints and computer evidence to generate new leads.

Gov. Inslee: Turn Kennewick Man Over to the Tribes

kennewick-man-clay-modelIn a letter sent to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on June 23 Washington Governor Jay Inslee requested that the remains of The Ancient One, or Kennewick Man, be turned over to Native American tribes.

Rare DNA process allowed in Whalen murder case

DNA in criminal investifationsBLOOMINGTON — A lab procedure described by a prosecutor as a “Frankenstein theory” can be used to create a DNA profile from three samples of genetic material in the murder case of Donald Whalen, a judge ruled Monday.

Ohio Senate approves rape case prosecution extension

justicescalesCOLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Ohio Senate has approved a bill that would extend the time period for prosecuting rape and sexual battery to 25 years after the crime.

Minnesota county plans restarting DNA collection for some defendants

DNA in a test tubeA county south of the Twin Cities says it is planning to restart the collection of DNA samples from people arrested and charged with violent crimes.

State to take DNA of non-convicted persons

BallisticsmicroscopesC20140Jamaica- If you are locked up for a criminal matter, chances are that DNA material taken from you will be retained in the Government’s database, even if you have been found not guilty or if there is no prosecution of the case.

Evaluation of the Forensic DNA Unit Efficiency Improvement Program

Justice DeptThe Urban Institute contracted with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to conduct an evaluation of its 2008 Forensic DNA Unit Efficiency Improvement Program. The findings suggest that there is some evidence in support of the hypothesis that crime lab DNA processing can be improved in novel and innovative ways besides simply increasing capacity.

NC rape victims waiting 2+ years for DNA test results

DNA CollectorNEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT)-It’s a topic making national headlines. Rape kits, with DNA evidence from the crime, sitting untested in crime labs for years. In other cases, kits simply abandoned in police evidence rooms with no plans to test them at all.